India’s Internet will be governed by the rules of net neutrality as the Telecom Commission has accepted the recommendations made by regulatory body TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Association of India). The net neutrality rules means that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) cannot discriminate against Internet content and services by blocking, throttling or granting them higher speed access.
India’s acceptance of Net Neutrality is a big victory for the open Internet movement. This is significant also because in the United States the Net Neutrality rules expired last month after the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted against them in November 2017. In the US, with no Net Neutrality, it is no longer illegal for ISPs to slow, block or offer “paid prioritization” to some websites as long as they disclose these practices. This reversed the initial pro-Net Neutrality rules from 2015.
According to TRAI’s Net Neutrality rules, first recommended back in November 2017, discriminatory treatment of content is prohibited. What this means is that your ISP or internet provider cannot charge you extra for say watching videos on Netflix at a high-speed. The rules bar ISPs from creating high-speed data lanes, or charging extra for viewing certain kind of content on the web.
It also means that zero-rating packages like says a Facebook Free Basics, where certain content is provided for free like access to Facebook, also remain illegal in India. The recommendations had also noted, “the use of Internet should be facilitated in such a manner that it advances the free speech rights of citizens, by ensuring plurality and diversity of views, opinions, and ideas.”