Indian regulator issues recommendations in support of net neutrality

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released a set of recommendations in support of net neutrality, following a wide public consultation process that started in May 2016. Among the recommendation, the authority notes that ‘service providers should be restricted from entering into any arrangement, agreement or contract, […] with any person, natural or legal, that has the effect of discriminatory treatment based on content, sender or receiver, protocols or user equipment’. Moreover, ‘the licensing terms should be amplified to provide explicit restrictions on any sort of discrimination in Internet access based on the content being accessed, the protocols being used or the use equipment being deployed. Content would include all content, applications, services and any other data, including end-point information, that can be accessed or transmitter over the Internet’. When it comes to specialised services, they ‘may be offered […] only if they are not usable (or offered) as a replacement for Internet Access Services; and the provision of such services is not detrimental to the availability and overall quality of Internet Access Services’. TRAI also recommends the setting up of a multistakeholder body which would be responsible for ‘developing technical standards for monitoring of [traffic management practices] and enforcement of the principles of non-discriminatory treatment and making appropriate recommendations to the Authority’.