Telecom Commission of India approves Net Neutrality

The Telecom Commission on July 11, 2018, approved the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) net neutrality recommendations that bar service providers from discriminating against internet content and services by blocking, throttling or granting them higher speed access. The decision that aims to ensure open and free Internet in the country was taken at a meeting of the Commission, the highest decision-making body in the Department of Telecommunication in New Delhi.

Key Highlights:-
1. TRAI had issued its recommendations on net neutrality in India in November 2017.
2. In its recommendations, the regulatory body asserted that there should be no intrusion of equal internet access to everyone, based on just the content.
3. The body also noted that the internet is an open platform and Internet of Things (IoT), as a class of service is not excluded from the scope of the restrictions on non-discriminatory treatment.
4. It also recommended that licensing terms must detail the list of bias the operator may have in terms of offering content
5. The recommendations, which were the result of a long, multistage consultation process, were then forwarded to the ministry of IT and Communication.

The Department of Telecom will set-up a multi-stakeholder body for the monitoring and enforcement of net neutrality. Besides this, the Telecom Commission approved the new Telecom policy -National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) 2018, which will now seek the approval of the cabinet. The monitoring body will comprise government representatives, telecom operators, civil society members and others. The National Digital Communications Policy aims to attract investments worth Rs 6 lakh 50,000 crores, create 40 lakh new jobs and provide 50 megabits per second broadband access to every citizen in the digital communications sector by 2022 with the help of reforms.

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