India Sets an Example for the World in Ruling on Net Neutrality

By Copley Sutton / July 12, 2018

India took the lead in a worldwide phenomenon this week. The government agreed to Net neutrality which ensures all information placed on the Internet is treated fairly. No type of information, as long as it's legal, will be given preference, be throttled or blocked by service providers. Those fighting for the cause have been anticipating this move, but Net neutrality has been a long time coming. As far back as November the TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) made recommendations to the Telecom Commission. From today, ISPs have to abide by strict guidelines.

Why is this of such importance? With these guidelines, smaller businesses will no longer be at the mercy of large corporations. The latter often purchases the right to have its information prioritized. For example, under the new rules, a broadcaster such as Netflix can't pay a mobile carrier to prioritize its streaming above a competitor's. Consumers also benefit because they won't have to pay more to get access to popular information or services. Up until recently, certain sources of information had the right to get this preferential treatment.

Of course, there are usually exceptions to any rule. The TC (Telecom Commission) believes there should be special allowances for critical services and emerging services. There's still a debate about exactly what these categories will cover. It will relate to aspects such as remote-diagnostic services and autonomous vehicles.

India can be proud of its history regarding Net neutrality. TRAI's work goes back as far as 2015. Also, in 2016 the country banned Facebook's Free Basics concept - giving people free access to zero-rating content would have put other companies at a disadvantage.

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