TRAI issues pre-consultation paper on Net Neutrality, asks responses by June 21

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has come up with their fourth pre-consultation report on net-neutrality on 30th May. Being one of the largest internet consuming countries, India is on course to being one of the first to set clear bounds on ‘net neutrality’. This time, the authority played a strong hand inviting a public response by June 21.

The basic idea remains same as brought up for debate on the previous three occasions. Issues such as throttling the speed of internet, differential pricing, traffic management, blocking content and consumer pricing and national security have been brought to light once again.

According to TRAI, the internet is redefining how Indians socialize like the telephone did in the 90’s. This sort of change in consumer behavior is bound to create opportunities and room for innovation. This, in turn, leaves the masses vulnerable regarding privacy, security, and financial/economic exploitation, thanks to the digital footprints they leave behind. The impact of this is unimaginable because India has one of the largest numbers of Internet users in the world, and most of the traffic comes from viewing videos.

Commenting on the same, one of the regulators said:

This merits a deeper inquiry into the various issues relevant to the subject of net neutrality, including determining the reasonableness of traffic management tools that may be adopted by TSPs.

The policy making is taking some time as this sets rules for further interventions. Hence, a dialogue between the parties is essential. The Department of Telecom had sought recommendations on issues including traffic management issues, economic issues, and privacy. There is an open platform on the TRAI website where people can voice their opinions and suggestions. The comments have to be sent via email toadvqoS@trai.gov.in” or faxed to 011-23213036. They will be approved and then posted on “http://www.trai.gov.in/”

The fact that the deadline for a response has been given to the TSP’s means that the decision making is on fast-track, and hopefully, we will soon see some substantial results.

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