A Big Win for Net Neutrality

When people go online they have certain expectations to be fulfilled when they visit a website of our choice. The cable or phone company isn’t messing with the data and is connecting to all websites, applications and content people choose. An internet connection that enables and protects free speech is said to be having Network Neutrality.

India’s telecom regulator TRAI says that service providers are to be restricted from entering any arrangement that has an effect of “discriminatory treatment” on the content. Internet service providers follows basic net neutrality principle like refraining from blocking any content, speeding up or slowing down applications or websites people want to use. New Net Neutrality recommendations released by the TRAI say that internet and telecom service providers must treat online data in a nondiscriminatory manner.

However, the regulator has made two important exemptions. The first exemption is on Content Delivery Networks or CDNs. CDNs make sure that people are connected to the best suited servers in a way that the videos buffer quickly, web pages load faster or the downloads are made quicker.

For the services of telemedicine or heart monitors which needs special network requirement TRAI has released “specialized services”. These exemptions, and TRAI’s rationale are in tune with the broader principle of net neutrality, which mandates that all online data must be treated equally, and that the internet and telecom service providers do not deliberately slow down one application to favor another, or discriminate between various internet services in terms of internet pack pricing models.

Internet Service Providers (ISP) could charge additional fees to the few companies that could afford to pay for favored treatment — referring everyone else to a slower tier of service. This would destroy the open internet.

Why is Net Neutrality important for businesses?

Small business owners, entrepreneurs and startups that rely on the open internet to unveil their businesses, create markets, advertise their products and services, and reach customers are highly reliable on Net Neutrality. This will help in job growth, competition and improvement.

Furthermore, it lowers the barriers of entry by preserving the internet’s fair and level playing field.The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has acclaimed that the internet service providers should not be discriminatory in supplying internet access as it is an open platform based on the Constitutional Right of Equality. Internet traffic should be accessible to everyone on equal terms without any judgment based on the business of the service providers.