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India’s net neutrality report

India's Department of Telecom has released its much-awaited report on net neutrality in India. The report, together with another from telecoms regulator TRAI, will form the final basis of the government's policy on net neutrality. According to The Hindu, the DoT panel has been criticised for its stance on internet voice calling and zero rating platforms, but the panel has clarified that its report neither favours any telecom services provider nor does it endorse any tariff plan. "The major misconception after the report came out is that on zero rating... that it is something that the committee has endorsed. We have not endorsed it," committee member V Umashankar said. The committee left the fate of controversial plans such as Airtel Zero to TRAI, while opposing similar projects such as Facebook's He further explained, "Tariff plans are promoted by telecoms operators, who are subject to regulatory oversight. Facebook, however, is out of our regulatory oversight... So we had to mention it separately. We have laid down the principles of net neutrality and any tariff plan will have to be tested against those principles. That will be ex-ante determination by the regulator." The Hindu also comments: A big let-down amid an otherwise progressive narrative in report is its recommendation to bring voice over internet protocol-based (VoIP) domestic calling services, including applications such as WhatsApp, under licensing. The suggestion is that such services be regulated "through exercise of licensing powers available under section 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act to ensure a level playing field". But don't telecoms companies benefit from the apps that ride on whatever services they provide? Report: Key recommendations: 

  • Wednesday, 22 July 2015

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