The Indian Telecommunications Department has approved network neutrality rules that prohibit blocking, acceleration and zero internet data, with some exceptions. The framework, published last year as a recommendation of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), is the culmination of a year-long campaign for net neutrality in India.
As The Wire reports, the new rules prevent "any form of discrimination or interference" with data, including "blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds or processing to any content." But they do not apply to "critical IoT services" or "specialized services," "which includes autonomous vehicles and remote surgery operations, which The Wire says that the head of TRAI RS Sharma is compared to ambulances that they can legally disobey the traffic rules, or in this case, obtain a priority status to maintain the quality of the service.Internet service providers must accept the agreement when they sign licensing agreements with the Telecommunications Department. violate the rules could have their licenses canceled.
TRAI initiated its regulatory process in early 2015 when it requested public comments on possible Internet regulations. Internet users in favor of net neutrality rules, especially after two companies They would announce zero rating plans that critics feared would give rich American companies an unfair advantage over local startups. One of these was Facebook's Internet.org or Free Basics project, which offered free access to certain Internet services in developing countries. India banned Free Basics in 2016, along with similar zero rating programs.
This approval contrasts with recent developments in the United States, where the net neutrality rules were repealed last month. Although some states have submitted their own bills to compensate, including one that is currently moving through the California legislature. At least on paper, India now has what the BBC previously said could be "the world's most progressive policy on equal access to the internet for all."