Net should be free & fair, says DoT panel on net neutrality

Seeks India-specific policy and a think-tank with best talent to deal with the complex digital world

GN Bureau | July 16, 2015


#net neutrality   #DOT   #internet free   #trai  

India specific net neutrality approach is at the core of the report submitted by the Department of Telecom panel on net neutrality. The report on net neutrality committee headed by AK Bhargava has been made public and it makes a case for free and fair internet.

The report says "considering the large internet user base and the critical role that Internet plays in our economic, social and political space, India should take a rational approach and initiate action in making an objective policy, specific to the needs of our country. The timing for this is apt, taking into consideration the exponential growth of content and applications on the internet".

See full report here


The panel says that "in order to deal with the complexities of the new digital world, a think-tank with best talent may also be set up".

It is also critical of the telecom companies and their approach.

Here are few recommendations of the panel:

User rights on the Internet need to be ensured so that TSPs/ISPs do not restrict the ability of the user to send, receive, display, use, post any legal content, application or service on the Internet, or restrict any kind of lawful Internet activity or use.

OTT application services have been traditionally available in the market for some time and such services enhance consumer welfare and increase productivity. Therefore, such services should be actively encouraged and any impediments in expansion and growth of OTT application services should be removed.

There should be a separation of “application layer” from “network layer” as application services are delivered over a licensed network.

Specific OTT communication services dealing with messaging should not be interfered with through regulatory instruments.

The existence of a pricing arbitrage in VoIP OTT communication services requires a graduated and calibrated public policy response. In case of OTT VoIP international calling services, a liberal approach may be adopted.

However, in case of domestic calls (local and national), communication services by TSPs and OTT communication services may be treated similarly from a regulatory angle for the present. The nature of regulatory similarity, the calibration of regulatory response and its phasing can be appropriately determined after public consultations and TRAI’s recommendations to this effect.

For OTT application services, there is no case for prescribing regulatory oversight similar to conventional communication services.

Legitimate traffic management practices may be allowed but should be “tested” against the core principles of net neutrality.

General criteria against which these practices can be tested are as follows:
 

  • TSPs/ISPs should make adequate disclosures to the users about their traffic management policies, tools and intervention practices to maintain transparency and allow users to make informed choices
     
  • Unreasonable traffic management, exploitative or anti-competitive in nature may not be permitted
     
  • In general, for legitimate network management, application-agnostic control may be used. However, application-specific control within the “Internet traffic” class may not be permitted
     
  • Traffic management practices like DPI should not be used for unlawful access to the type and contents of an application in an IP packet
     
  • Improper (Paid or otherwise) Prioritization may not be permitted
     
  • Application-agnostic congestion control being a legitimate requirement cannot be considered to be against net neutrality. However application-specific control within the “Internet traffic” class may be against the principles of net neutrality
     
  • Mechanism to minimize frivolous complaints will be desirable.


Traffic management is complex and specialized field and enough capacity building is needed before undertaking such an exercise.

Managed services are a necessary requirement for businesses and enterprises, and suitable exceptions may be made for the treatment of such services in the Net Neutrality context.

Tariff plans offered by TSPs/ISPs must conform to the principles of net neutrality set forth in guidelines issued by the Government as Licensor. TRAI may examine the tariff filings made by TSPs/ISPs to determine whether the tariff plan conforms to the principles of net neutrality.

Content and application providers cannot be permitted to act as gatekeepers and use network operations to extract value in violation of core principles of net neutrality, even if it is for an ostensible public purpose.

A clause, requiring licensee to adhere to the core principles of net neutrality, as specified by guidelines issued by the licensor from time to time, should be incorporated in the license conditions of TSP/ISPs. The guidelines can describe the principles and conditions of net neutrality in detail and provide applicable criteria to test any violation of the principles of net neutrality.

New legislation, whenever planned for replacing the existing legal framework, must incorporate principles of net neutrality. Till such time as an appropriate legal framework is enacted, interim provisions enforceable through licensing conditions as suggested by the committee may be the way forward.

Comments

 

Other News

Omicron: Maharashtra revises travel guidelines

A day after the union health secretary wrote to it that its order on SOPs for air travellers was in divergence with guidelines issued by the MoHFW, GoI in view of the Omicron threat, the Maharashtra government on Thursday revised its guidelines for passengers arriving in the state. Issuing

Omicron: Centre asks Maharashtra to follow uniform guidelines

With the threat of Omicron, the new variant of the coronavirus, looming large, the union health ministry has written to the Maharashtra government to align orders issued by the state with the ministry’s guidelines for uniform implementation. The state government in its order dated Nove

Central Railways runs over 800 Kisan Railway trips

To ensure bigger access to farm produce and provide new markets with quick transportation and subsidy at 50%, the Kisan Rail has been bringing prosperity, joy, and hope to farmers of Maharashtra. On November 28, the Central Railway ran its 800th  trip of Kisan Rail from Sangola to Muzaffarpur.

Omicron forces Mumbai to delay school reopening

The looming threat of the new Covid strain B.1.1.529, known as Omicron, has pushed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to postpone the reopening of schools for classes 1-7 to December 15. Earlier, these classes were scheduled to reopen from December 1. The education department of t

4 Industrial Smart Cities built under the aegis of DMIC: asserts Commerce Ministry

 Source: PTI   As many as 4 greenfield industrial smart cities or nodes are being built under Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Co

Center completed more than 3000 smart city projects valued INR 53, 575 crores: Kaushal Kishore, MoS, MOHUA

 The Minister of State, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs(MoHUA), Kaushal Kishore recently shared information in the Rajya Sabha, stating the central government successfully completed 3000 smart cities projects

Visionary Talks: Dr. Naresh Trehan, CMD Medanta Heart Institute with Kailashnath Adhikari



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter