Net neutrality in India
The Indian regulator, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), has adopted on November 28, 2017 a series of recommendations reinforcing the neutrality of the net. The terms chosen are very close to the 2015 European regulation ensuring an open internet. The recommandations prohibit blocking, degrading, slowing down or giving preferential treatment to users, The Times of India reported.
India has long pushed for net neutrality laws, which follow the principle that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally. In November, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India reportedly recommended that internet access in the country remain non-discriminatory, and that there be no throttling, blocking or preferential treatment.
The European example was a source of inspiration for India as well as support for the various stakeholders who defended the establishment of an ambitious legal framework during the public consultation process. The best evidence of this proximity is the final wording of the provisions recommended by TRAI, which are very close to the European regulation on the open internet. For example, the distinction between Internet access service and specialized services is almost identical in both texts. India and Europe now also have a similar standard for the reasonable management of internet traffic in both cases, the key words are transparency and proportionality.
“Any deviations and violations of the rules of net neutrality — which come into effect almost immediately — will be met with stiff penalties,” Department of Telecommunications secretary Aruna Sundararajan told The Times of India.
The Department of Telecommunications didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
There are some exceptions to the laws. New and emerging services like autonomous driving and telemedicine are exempt, as they could require faster internet, according to The Times of India.
In 2016, India’s telecom regulatorto provide free access to certain Internet services controlled by the social network. The government stopped the program over concerns that Facebook violated net neutrality by providing only select online content for free.