The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Wednesday released a consultation paper on net neutrality and invited public comments on the issue. The regulatory body said the purpose of the of the paper was to “proceed towards the formulation of final views on policy or regulatory interventions”.
“In this second stage, the Authority has considered all the relevant issues identified during the pre-consultation process and the preliminary inputs gathered from stakeholders on these issues,” Trai said. It is also important to “identify [the] core principles of net neutrality for India and the types of practices that might be regarded as being in violation of these core principles”, the body said.
However, Trai said that any policy dealing with net neutrality “should not interfere with the ability of service providers to manage their networks in a reasonable and fair manner”. The body also emphasised on the need for a monitoring mechanism that can “remain relevant and appropriate” through changing circumstances, including in policy environments and technology.
Net neutrality activists praised Trai for the extensiveness of the paper. Medianama.com founder Nikhil Pahwa called it the “most granular consultation paper” on the issue, Mint reported. “It looks like they [Trai] are trying to address all pending issues in a very clear and decisive manner,” he said. Separately, the Internet Freedom Foundation said the paper made it clear that Trai was looking to “deal with net neutrality issues” in a comprehensive manner. However, activists and groups also called for more checks and balances.
Trai will accept public views on the paper till February 15 and counter-comments till February 28. In May 2016, the regulator released a pre-consultation paper seeking to define net neutrality. The paper posed six questions for debate to stakeholders, including on the core principles of net neutrality as well as dealing with customer privacy. In February, Trai had ruled in favour of net neutrality, saying that no service provider could offer or charge discriminatory tariff for data services on the basis of content.