Sunday, July 5, 2015

India Planned Net Neutrality Laws

Following the US and EU (here), India is also about to get its version of Net Neutrality. 

Mohul Ghosh [pictured] reports to that "The 6 member standing committee, which was formed by the Government to look into the raging Net Neutrality issue may finally announce their consensus soon. As per reports, they have received recommendations from Department of Telecom, and they are in the final stages now."

  • One of the biggest positive developments to have come out from this standing committee is that, DoT has finally realized that Zero Rating plans initiated by Airtel [see "Airtel: The Internet, with Our Airtel Zero, is Neutral" - here], and project by Facebook, are against the principles of net neutrality.
  • Content and application providers cannot be permitted to act as gatekeepers and use network operations to extract value, even if it is for an ostensible public purpose. Collaborations between TSPs (telecom service providers) and content providers that enable such gate keeping role to be played by any entity should be actively discouraged.
  • The committee, it seems, agrees with the suggestions of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) that local voice based services by OTTs need regulation, so that they are in par with those telecom companies which are operating in India. [see "Indian MNOs to Surcharge VoIP Traffic" - here].

    As per another report by Economic Times: “The committee favors regulatory oversight on the communication service providers. The committee believes that for (other) OTT application services (including those offering messaging and international voice calls), there is no case for prescribing regulatory oversight similar to communication services.”

See "Net Neutrality In India: DoT Opposes Zero Rating Plans But Suggests Regulation of Local Voice Call Service By OTTs" - here.

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