On Wednesday the government of India approved the principles of net neutrality in India which means free and fair access of the Internet to all the users. The inter-ministerial commission showed the green lights for net neutrality in our country.
“Net neutrality will come into force through a notification by the telecom ministry, and companies will have to strictly follow the principles,” said Sundararajan, Telecom Secretary.
The grounds for net neutrality and free and fair internet was laid by Telecom Regulatory Association of India (Trai) which recommended that internet access in India should remain non-discriminatory with no restrictions in the delivery of content with practices such as throttling of speed, blocking, paid prioritization or preferential treatment.
What exactly is net neutrality principle?
The principle that Internet Service Providers (ISP) should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.
Let’s have a look at what principles our government has approved:
As per the net neutrality rules in India, mobile operators, internet providers and social-media and internet companies cannot engage in or provide preferential treatment as there will now be prohibition on any kind of interference in the treatment of content, including practices like blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting differential speeds or treatment to any content.
From now onwards zero-rated platforms have now been blocked. Zero-rated platforms, which had earlier been tried (by companies such as Airtel and Facebook) but barred, offer only a certain category of services and websites as free, thus creating paid layers and tough competitions within the companies.
The government’s decision will now not allow any mobile operator, internet service provider or online/social media companies to create monopolies on the internet as the companies used to charge for special treatment. The rules of equal access (net neutrality) will be maintained and no company can buy special treatment for itself or its services.
The telecom secretary, who also heads the telecom commission said: “Internet traffic management by mobile companies will be monitored and if found guilty will have to suffer heavy penalties.”
“The telecom department will decide on traffic management rules, and will seek recommendations from sector regulator Trai on the same,” he added.
“The government has also decided for the formation of a multi-stakeholder body for the monitoring and enforcement of net neutrality. Apart from government officials, this will have representatives from telecom companies, internet service providers and those engaged in internet-of-things platforms,” Sundararajan said.
Let’s have a look at the countries which have enforced and not enforced ‘Net Neutrality’:
“Smaller companies will have the opportunity to progress with no fear of bigger rivals blocking their opportunities by paying Internet Service Providers for specialized treatment,” a government official said.
India’s acceptance of Net Neutrality is a big victory for the open Internet movement. Last month the US, the world’s biggest internet economy has voted for no to ‘net neutrality’ in the country which means Internet Service Providers throttling speed, blocking, paid prioritization or preferential treatment is no more legal in the US.
To understand the ins and outs subject in Marathi you can read this article.