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Government looks at law to clarify ‘dos and don’ts’ to guarantee net neutrality

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

With no legal provisions for either the government or the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to implement non-discriminatory access to the Internet currently, the government is mulling a public law defining “dos and don’ts” to guarantee net neutrality.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) has provided a background note to a six-member committee suggesting ‘specific measures for enforcing net neutrality’, while viewing the factors relevant in the Indian context. Three factors: need for increased broadband availability, a competitive environment and low telecom tariff indicate that market forces will guard any irregularity by telecom service providers (TSPs).

The note also takes a bleak glimpse in the fact that the most overriding content and application providers are integrated outside the country, which lead to security concerns, interception and legal jurisdiction.  It is expected that the committee will submit its report by the second week of May.

Notably, telcos, such as Reliance and Airtel had initiated separate services in alliance with select content providers offering free data access to their websites. However, it soon ended up after the companies had to withdraw their schemes, not because of any regulatory or government proclamation, but due to a public hullabaloo.

The DoT sources revealed that as the things are today, remarkably high internet traffic growth rate is resulting in network congestion and spectrum crunch. This, in turn, is forcing telcos to implement traffic management tools that curb the stream of data on the Internet.

The  Web Foundation’s 2014 Web Index reveals the fact that 74% of 86 countries included in the study lacked lucid and effective net neutrality rules or showed proofs of price discrimination.

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