Net neutrality: India takes a giant step ahead; this interactive map shows where other nations stand

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Published: November 28, 2017 6:12:04 PM

No blocking, no degrading, no slowing down, no preferential speed, India just showed the way to the Net Neutrality law as the Telecom Regulatory recommended upholding its basic principle: the internet is an open platform.

The internet is an open platform, said TRAI on Net Neutrality

No blocking, no degrading, no slowing down, no preferential speed, India just showed the way to the Net Neutrality law as the Telecom Regulatory recommended upholding its basic principle: the internet is an open platform. As the world debates and discusses Net Neutrality, these recommendations, if accepted, can set India’s foot miles ahead of other countries, even the United States.

In February 2016, TRAI ruled in favour of net neutrality by prohibiting discriminatory tariffs for data after an extended campaign by internet activists, who argued that Facebook’s Free Basics platform and other offerings by Indian telecom companies violated net neutrality principles.

Its consultation paper on the subject floated in January this year, which got an overwhelming response by people on upholding net neutrality, had majorly focused on network speed so that telecom operators do not use it for any preferences or prevent access to any website or service like voice calls which requires decent net speed. Organised by the SavetheInternet.in, nearly 2.5 million people provided public comments to TRAI on net neutrality.

While India is looking for an egalitarian approach for the internet access, the US, which had adopted Net Neutrality in 2015, is looking to repeal the law on December 16. The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai followed through on a pledge to try to repeal “Net neutrality” regulations enacted under the Obama administration. “Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet,” he said in a statement recently.

Here’s the current status of net neutrality around the world in just one map:

Here’s all you need to know about TRAI’s recommendation on net neutrality:

1. The Authority has recommended an amendment to the license agreements to clarify the principle of unrestricted access given under the appropriate license agreements

2. The recommendations are based on the basic principle that internet is an open platform and telecos should not discriminate on access to the internet, TRAI Chairman RS Sharma said.

3. The recommendations were made keeping the mind the country’s perspective which requires an internet neutral open platform.

4. Licensing terms should be amplified to provide explicit restrictions on any discrimination in internet access

5. Service providers to be restricted from entering any arrangement that has effect of “discriminatory treatment” on content

6. TRAI has kept specialised services like autonomous cars, remote surgery etc out of the net neutrality ambit, adding that they should not be detrimental to the quality of basic internet services.

7. TRAI has also clarified that Internet of Things (IOT) is not a specialised service. “IoT as a class of services, should not be specifically excluded from the scope of the restrictions on nondiscriminatory treatment,” TRAI recommended.

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