TRAI Recommendations on Net Neutrality Are Progressive: IAMAI


Reacting to the TRAI’s recommendations on Net Neutrality, the Internet Association of India (IAMAI) has said that that the recommendations are progressive and are in line with the debates in the industry and user groups that has been raging since the last two years.

For the industry, the recommendations are pragmatic in the sense that it recognizes the requirements of expansion of digital services in the country; when it makes reasonable exceptions for specialised services, reasonable traffic management practices or fulfilling international treaty agreements. Special provisions for IoT, specialised services and CDNs reflect a forward looking recommendation that takes into account the needs of the foreseeable future.

The TRAI provisions are also conducive for nurturing the start-up ecosystem in the country. By preventing larger content/service companies stonewalling emerging services by colluding with ISPs, the TRAI recommendations ensures level playing field in access enabling emerging service providers to reach out to target audiences at same terms with their peers. At the same time, recognition of special sectors like IoT, CDNs ensure that emerging sectors in India will get the necessary regulatory cover for developing their services. The tech startups in India are working in the most cutting edge technologies and services. The recommendations give due recognition to the special needs of such services in terms of exceptions.

The recommendations come as a great boost for improving ease of doing business and will aid inviting investments in digital businesses in India. According to IAMAI, for the consumers, these recommendations, read in continuance with the earlier position on Differential Pricing, bring the entire debate on Net Neutrality to its logical conclusion. The debate of net neutrality was about the freedom and choice of access for end users. By bringing all possible agencies of the ecosystem under the ambit of net neutrality with special provisioning that prevents collusive pricing of services (or bundled services), TRAI has ensured that customers are not coerced into walled gardens setup with collusions between different agencies of the digital ecosystem.

Therefore, internet in India unlike possibly in the US or China, is going to be ‘free and open’ upholding the democratic principles of our country.  However, the government needs to act with speed on these recommendations. The TRAI position on differential pricing had a sunset clause of 2 years which is fast coming to an end. Thus, according to IAMAI, these recommendations should be adopted at the earliest, or else all the above mentioned benefits will be lost.