The TRAI in its latest recommendations on Net Neutrality said that all licensed telecom service providers (TSPs) providing Internet services in India should be bound to follow the “core principles” of net neutrality, explicitly barring any kind of discriminatory tariffs for data services purely based on content.
The TRAI has also recommended the service providers to restrict from “entering into any arrangement, agreement or contract” that have the effect of “discriminatory treatment based on content”. However, specialized services, i.e. other than Internet Access Services shall be exempted from the principles of discriminatory treatment as identified by the Department of Telecom (DoT). The regulator has also recommended setting up a collaborating mechanism to monitor and investigate violations.
TRAI also said the scope of the proposed principles on non-discriminatory treatment applies specifically to 'Internet Access Services', which are generally available to the public. This is a big boost for net neutrality, a battle that is being waged across the world where service providers are trying to monopolize access to content. Now, it falls on the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to take the recommendations and turn them into licensing conditions to be put on telecom providers.
The TRAI has also prescribed stringent monetary penalties for any violation of these TRAI norms on net neutrality. The penalty will start at INR 50,000/- per violation/day and the overall penalty could go as high as INR 50 lakhs depending on the gravity of the violation. The only exemption will be emergency services, where lower prices in times of an emergency will be permitted.
For more information, please see https://www.vccircle.com/telecom-regulator-trai-bats-for-net-neutrality-with-own-recommendations/