TRAI backs Net neutrality

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Releasing its recommendations on "net neutrality", TRAI has explicitly stated that internet service providers can not in any form discriminate with content by putting restrictions on them - including blocking, slowing down or granting preferential speeds to certain content.

In February 2016, the Trai had ruled in favour of net neutrality by barring internet service providers from offering discriminatory tariffs for data.

"Internet access services should be governed by a principle that restricts any form of discrimination or interference of content, including practices like blocking, degrading, slowing down, or granting preferential speeds or treatment to any content", the regulator wrote.

Trai has also suggested changing licence terms of ISPs to explicitly restrict any form of discrimination in Internet access based on content. "And, therefore, it is everybody's property.and, therefore, it should be open and accessible to everybody", Trai chairman R.S. Sharma told reporters. However, it allowed certain exemptions for specialised services which are optimised for specific content and are not internet services.

TRAI's recommendation clearly backs the idea of treating the internet as an essential resource that should be provided to all without any discrimination.

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If the government accepts the proposal, ISPs will not be able to block or throttle any web traffic or offer fast lanes for content providers who pay for the facility.

While free web access is a good thing - especially in developing economies - it can't come with damning restrictions like the ones Facebook has in mind if the goal is to get everyone on an open and equal internet.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Tuesday came out in strong support of net neutrality in a series of recommendations, following a long process of consultations on the issue.

With that, India is one step closer to ensuring that net neutrality is enforced nationwide. Internet firms lauded Trai's recommendations, while telecom operators said that the regulator has applied a "narrow definition" to the topic. "The implementation of these regulations by the government of India would include formally issuing new executive orders to amend the telecom license conditions of service providers who have been licensed to operate in India by the government".

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