In a move that will ensure open and free Internet in India, the government has approved the principle of net neutrality. This means that telecom and Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet equally, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, site, platform, or application. They cannot engage in practices such as blocking, slowing down or granting preferential speeds to any content.
The Telecom Commission (TC) — which is the highest decision-making body in the Department of Telecom, on Wednesday approved the recommendation made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the subject eight months ago. “The TC today [Wednesday] approved net neutrality as recommended by TRAI,” Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said after the meeting.
She, however, added that certain emerging and critical services will be kept out of the purview of these norms.
A separate committee has been set up under the Department of Telecom (DoT) to examine what these critical services will be. These may include autonomous vehicles, digital healthcare services or disaster management.
The regulator, in November 2017, batted in favour of net neutrality – which has been one of the most hotly debated topics in India for over 4 years now.
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