The government is contemplating setting up a special monitoring body to check whether mobile operators and internet service providers are adhering to fair practices in terms of providing access to various websites on equal terms — what is called net neutrality in industry parlance.
Sources said that the proposed body is likely to be set up once the government clearly defines what is net neutrality and lays down a proper law regarding it. Currently, there’s no such law and regulation which governs net neutrality. However, a department of telecommunications (DoT)-appointed panel has recently submitted a report on the subject to the government. Separately, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is also preparing its recommendations on the subject through a larger consultative process. The government will take a final call on the subject and frame appropriate rules only after it gets the TRAI’s recommendations. Sources said that the proposed is likely to be set up after the entire deliberations are over.
DoT officials said that the specialised monitoring body may be set up at the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT), a unit under the DoT.
However, this system within C-DoT will be a different set-up from the Central Monitoring System (CMS) which will come into operation very soon. The CMS would enable security agencies to tap phones, and intercept and monitor calls without keeping telcos in the loop.
“Telecom companies will have to link their servers to C-DoT, which will monitor their internet speed and will put checks and alerts on telcos if they resort to any kind of throttling. The Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) Cells will act as a coordinates at the local level across 22 telecom circles in the country,” explained a senior DoT official.