Regulators

TRAI Net Neutrality OHD in Bengaluru on 25 July

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NEW DELHI: An Open House Discussion has been slated in Bengaluru later this month on the Telecom Regulatory Authority’s pre-consultation paper on Net Neutrality which had been issued in mid-2016.

The OHD will be held on 25 July after which the authority will begin work on its final recommendations.

In a pre-consultation paper on Net Neutrality to ensure national security and customer privacy issued on 30 May 2016, the regulator had asked what should be regarded as the core principles of net neutrality in the Indian context and what key issues are required to be considered so that the principles of net neutrality are ensured.

The regulator has also asked what the reasonable traffic management practices that may need to be followed by telecom service providers should be while providing internet access services and whether there any other current or potential practices in India that may give rise to concerns about net neutrality or its misuse.

Stakeholders have been asked about the precautions with respect to the activities of TSPs and content providers to ensure that national security interests are preserved, and customer privacy is maintained.

The regulator says it had issued a paper on 27 March last year and after much discussion among stakeholders and the government, the Department of Telecom had asked TRAI certain questions leading to the present paper.

At the outset, TRAI says that during the last decade, the telecom industry in India has grown tremendously, both in terms of penetration as well as connectivity. Today, India is one of the fastest growing information and communication technologies markets in the world, fueled largely by the cellular mobile revolution. Starting from a few million connections in 1997, there are more than a billion connections, with 97.5 per cent of them being wireless subscribers. With this, the overall teledensity in India at the end of 2015 stood at 81.83 per cent.

India has also witnessed tremendous growth in terms of the total number of Internet users. At the end of December 2015, there were over 331 million internet subscribers in the country, of which about 94 per cent (over 311 million) were wireless internet users.

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