Thanks To Online Outrage, India Approves Strong Net Neutrality Rules - No To Data Discrimination
In a move to ensure free internet in India, the government has accepted and approved the principle of net neutrality. This means that telecom operators in India cannot give preferential treatment to any user, content, site, platform, or application.
The Telecom Commission (TC), the highest regulatory body in the Department of Telecom in India, on July 11 accepted the recommendations of the Telecom Regulation Authority of India (TRAI) made eight months ago.
“The TC today [Wednesday] approved net neutrality as recommended by TRAI,” Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said after the meeting, reported The Hindu. She, however, suggested that certain emerging and critical apps will be kept out of these norms.
Suggestions made by TRAI in November
- No service provider can offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content.
- No service provider shall enter into any arrangement, agreement or contract, by whatever name called, with any person, natural or legal, that the effect of discriminatory tariffs for data services being offered or charged by the service provider for the purpose of evading the prohibition in this regulation.
- Reduced tariff for accessing or providing emergency services, or at times of public emergency has been permitted.
- Financial disincentives for contravention of the regulation have also been specified
- TRAI may review these regulations after a period of two years.
They also planned to levy a fine of Rs. 50,000 per day on service providers for not complying with the set rules. The fine can also go up to Rs. 50 lakhs. Although, they have made provisions for emergency situations.
“We had issued a consultation paper just about 60 days ago on differential pricing. We deliberated on the issue for quite some time. Anything on the Internet cannot be differently priced. This is the broad point that we have highlighted in the regulation,” TRAI Chairman R.S. Sharma told reporters at a conference.
A committee has been set up by the Department of Telecom (DoT) to examine what will be termed as critical service. These may include autonomous vehicles, disaster management services and digital healthcare services.
India’s approval to net neutrality is commendable given the fact that the same was withdrawn in the US. The decision that came in June in the US paves the way for service providers to slow down or block particular content for users.
The fight for freedom
Net Neutrality has been the hot topic for in India for four years. Facebook partnered with Reliance to promote Free Basics and was at loggerheads with the Telecom Authority of India. Airtel too came up with Airtel Zero which would have segregated the internet.
In early 2015, TRAI notified the public of twenty questions they had to answer about what the policies for the use of the Internet should look like. Along with this, the public was also asked to send emails in support of net neutrality. Understanding the consequences of not having Net Neutrality, youths from colleges took a stand against the issue.
Share/Tweet with #IndiaWantsNetNeutralityUnderstanding the devastating consequences of not having #NetNeutrality,…
Not just college students, Bollywood also extended their support for the cause. After a campaign The Logical Indian ran on social media that lasted for months, 70 Lakh responses were sent to TRAI in support of Net Neutrality. Finally, TRAI had to bow down.
Thank you dear members for spreading awareness about #IndiaWantsNetNeutrality and making it to top trends.Slowly Bollywood is also extending their support for the cause. We thank Shruti Seth & Danish Aslam for taking a stand in favour of #NetNeutrallity and helping us spread the awareness!Share/tweet this video with hashtag #IndiaWantsNetNeutrality and keep it trending, making it visible to every netizen.Upload your Velfies on your timeline appealing for 'Net Neutrality', please make sure you use the hashtag #IndiaWantsNetNeutrality and mention "@ The Logical Indian", so that we can track your velfies!There is a hero in every one of us let it come out to save internet.
Posted by The Logical Indian on Saturday, April 11, 2015
On February 8 2016, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India issued the ‘Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016’ that upheld net neutrality.
The Logical Indian community thanks all the members who signed the petition which pushed the TRAI to accept net neutrality. This shows that voices, when collaborated together, can bring positive changes.
Also Read: What is Net Neutrality?