Telecom dept to conduct meeting on net neutrality on 27 April

A committee of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), set up to examine various aspects of net neutrality, has decided to hold a meeting with the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) on April 27 to discuss net neutrality.

“A committee has been constituted in Department of Telecommunications to examine various aspects of net neutrality. The committee has decided to have interaction with MAG representatives. Accordingly, a meeting has been organised on April 27, 2015,” a letter sent by the DoT said.

The terms of reference of the committee are – to examine the pursuit of net neutrality from a public policy objective, its advantages and limitations, to examine the economic impact on the telecom sector that arises from the existence of a regulated telecom services sector and unregulated content and applications sector, including over-the-top (OTT) services.

Mobile Internet
It will also examine, assess and specify qualifications on the applicability of the principal of net-neutrality from the security, traffic management, economic, privacy and other stand-points and to recommend overall policy, regulatory and technical responses in the light of examination and assessment of the issues in the first three terms of reference.

Network neutrality, or open inter-working, means that in accessing the World Wide Web, one is in full control over how to go online, where to go and what to do as long as these are lawful. It advocates that firms that provide internet services should treat all lawful internet content in a neutral manner.

In March, telecom regulator TRAI released a paper inviting comments from users and companies on how over-the-top services should be regulated in the country. It has asked stakeholders to send suggestions by April 24 and counter-arguments need to be submitted by May 8.

Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar will also be submitting his official response to the consultation paper. He will be accompanied by Anshul Tiwari who would be delivering the petition to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India office.

The viral petition which was started by Kollam resident and net activist Sandeep Pillai is asking TRAI not to allow differential pricing of online services.