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Govt in process to frame net neutrality rules, amend telecom licence: Manoj Sinha

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Government is in the process of framing rules to implement net neutrality in the country, which bars service providers from discriminating against internet content and services by blocking, throttling or granting them higher speed access. “Government is in the process of establishing the regulatory framework for net neutrality which, inter alia, includes amendment in the terms of various licence agreements governing the provision of internet services in India to incorporate the principles of non-discriminatory treatment of content,” Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha told Rajya Sabha in a written statement.

The apex decision making body at the Department of Telecom, the Telecom Commission, had approved implementation of net neutrality as suggested by the sector regulator Trai with slight modification on July 11. Some mission critical applications or services like remote surgery and autonomous cars will, however, be kept out of the purview of net neutrality framework.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had recommended restrictions on service providers from entering into agreements which lead to discriminatory treatment of content on the internet. Trai had favoured tweaking of licensing norms for players to ensure “explicit restrictions” on discrimination in internet access, based on content. The Department of Telecom has to set up a multi-stakeholder body for monitoring and enforcement of net neutrality comprising government representatives, IoT providers, telecom operators, civil society members and consumer organisations. DoT will seek recommendations from Trai on traffic management for critical services. Government is committed to the fundamental principles and concept of net neutrality and strives for non-discriminatory access to internet for all citizens of the country,” Sinha said.

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