They said that Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) should have adopted a light touch approach to Net Neutrality, especially at a time when countries across the world are adopting a more market-oriented, and market-driven approach in order not to stifle development, innovation, proliferation and growth of the Internet. However, specialised services may be offered by the service provider only if they are not usable (or offered) as a replacement for Internet Access Services; and the provision of such services is not detrimental to the availability and overall quality of Internet Access Services.
"The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has explicitly barred any kind of discriminatory tariffs for data services purely based on content".
According to the telecom ministry, the new guidelines will be applicable to all Internet services and some "specialised services" as well.
TRAI also adviced service providers regarding entering into agreements with certain agencies to keep a check on discrimination.
He said that the right to access to the internet was "non-negotiable", and that no single body will have any monopoly over internet services.
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The principles of non-discriminatory treatment above, would be broad enough to include 'any form of discrimination, restriction or interference' in the treatment of content, including practices like blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds or treatment to any content.
Trai's recommendation comes days after United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) led by Ajit Pai suggested plans to scrap landmark 2015 rules meant to ensure a free and open internet.
Sector analysts, however, said the Trai's suggestion to exempt content delivery networks (CDNs) within a telco's own network from any restrictions on non-discriminatory treatment would benefit large integrated telcos such as Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio Infocomm who have a presence in content platforms.
These reasonable traffic management practices should be transparent and transient.
Our unified license document states very clearly that there should be unrestricted and non-discriminatory access.
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In its response, Nasscom said: "As India undergoes data revolution, the regulator's recommendations are in line with our view for unrestrained access to all lawful content and services but subject to national security and privacy".
Supporters of Net neutrality back the principle that the entire Internet traffic should be available to everyone on equal terms without any discrimination based on business considerations of service providers.
"Inclusion of IoT remains a huge concern, and we will need to look closely at this".
Harsh Walia, Associate Partner, Khaitan & Co, said all IoT service providers are not excluded from the principle of non-discrimination, and those players not providing critical services may find it onerous if DoT accepts the recommendations.
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