Indian Telecom Commission, decision-making body in the telecom ministry has approved net neutrality recommendations proposed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). These rules restrict telecom operators from discriminating against Internet content and services or grant higher speed for those who pay a premium.
However, certain mission-critical applications or services like remote surgery and autonomous cars will be kept out of the purview of net neutrality framework. Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan in a statement said: “The Telecom Commission (TC) today approved net neutrality as recommended by TRAI expect some critical services will be kept out of its purview.”
TRAI earlier backed principles of a free and open Internet by recommending restrictions on service providers from putting discrimination on the Internet. TRAI, however, had kept ‘content delivery networks’ out of net neutrality and allowed fast lanes for special services that DoT should define, and permit telecom operators to use traffic management practices to maintain the quality of service.
Sundararajan further said that the Telecom Commission has also approved the new telecom policy; the National Digital Communications Policy 2018 and this will be taken to the Union Cabinet for the final approval. According to an official, who was part of the meeting, the Telecom Commission has also approved the installation of around 12.5 lakh WiFi hotspot in all gram panchayats by December 2018 with a funding of around Rs 6,000 crore.
Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said:
Everybody in the meeting today said that digital infrastructure is even more important than physical infrastructure for India. CEO of Niti Ayog (Amitabh Kant) said that for districts, we must ensure digital infrastructure is provided at the earliest. Therefore, India must have ease of doing business and enabling policy environment.