Telecom Commision approves of TRAI’s net neutrality rules

Net neutrality binds any Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from discriminating content on the Internet. Thus, the regulatory body, TRAI also demanded that restrictions must be implied on service providers entering into agreements that may lead to discrimination of content on the Internet.

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India finally will now be governed by the net neutrality rules as the Telecom Commission has approved of the recommendations made by the regulatory body Telecom Regulatory Association of India (TRAI). Net neutrality rules mean that the Internet Service providers must avoid any form of discrimination against the content by blocking, throttling or increasing the internet speed for an individual source of content.

TRAI recommended the net neutrality rules in November 2017 which emphasised on the prohibition of discriminatory treatment of content. So now your Internet provider cannot boost the speed of videos on several sites while slowing down video from other video streaming sites. The rule also does not permit the providers to charge extra for advanced speed. 

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India accepting the net neutrality rules is a sign of victory for open Internet movement as in the United States, the Net Neutrality rules expired last month after the US Federal Communications Commission voting against the rules in November 2017. So now it is no longer illegal for ISPs in the US to block, vary browsing speed as per paid prioritisation to some websites. Thus, this contradicted the pro-Net Neutrality rules from 2015. 

However, the Telecom Commission has kept services like remote surgery and autonomous cars out of the framework of net neutrality along with Content Delivery Networks (CDNs). CDNs allow the telecom companies to deliver content through their network without using the public internet. Networks like Airtel, Reliance Jio are the major players practising this and they have made it vital for the consumers to be on their network to access the content provided by them. 

In case of violation of the core principles of net neutrality, the penalty would consist of a two-stage process of review and appeal. The regulatory body will monitor traffic and any new tariff will be treated as a violation to principles of net neutrality.

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