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Govt striving for non-discriminatory access to internet: Ravi Shankar Prasad

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Ravi-Shankar-PrasadThe government is committed to the fundamental principles and concept of net neutrality, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written statement to the Rajya Sabha.

The minister added that the government strives for non-discriminatory access to internet for all citizens of the country.

“The committee constituted by the government on net neutrality has submitted its report to the Department of Telecom (DoT). The report has been uploaded on website of DoT and MyGov portal for comments and suggestions. The Committee report is not the government report which is yet to take a decision,” Prasad said.

The Committee recommended adherence to core principles of net neutrality. According to report, user rights on the Internet need to be ensured so that Telecom Service Providers/Internet Service Providers (TSPs/ISPs) do not restrict the ability of the user to send, receive, display, use, post any legal content, application or service on the Internet, or restrict any kind of lawful Internet activity or use.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is also currently engaged in consultation process on the issue whose recommendations are awaited.

Below are the key recommendations of the report:

  1. The primary goals of public policy in the context of Net Neutrality should be directed towards achievement of developmental aims of the country by facilitating “Affordable Broadband”, “Quality Broadband” and “Universal Broadband” for its citizens.
  2.  Over-The-Top (OTT) application services should be actively encouraged and any impediments in expansion and growth of OTT application services should be removed.
  3. Specific OTT communication services dealing with messaging should not be interfered with through regulatory instruments. For OTT application services, there is no case for prescribing regulatory oversight similar to conventional communication services.
  4.  Tariff plans offered by TSPs/ISPs must conform to the principles of net neutrality set forth in guidelines issued by the Government as Licensor. TRAI may examine the tariff filings made by TSPs/ISPs to determine whether the tariff plan conforms to the principles of net neutrality.

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