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What is net neutrality?

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What is net neutrality?


Context:

Industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has urged the government to bring over-the-top (OTT) service providers like WhatsApp, Google Duo etc under licensing regime and defer net neutrality rules on telecom operators till the time ‘same service same rules’ are applied on the apps.

What’s the issue?

Telecom operators have been demanding that the government should impose ‘same service, same rules’ to provide a level playing field in the sector.

  • But, recently Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had recommended that no regulations should be imposed on the calling and messaging apps till the time clarity emerges in the international jurisdictions.

What has the COAI said?

Till the time any decision is taken regarding licensing of OTT communication providers, the un-equitability between TSPs (telecom service providers) and OTTs should not be increased further in any manner.

  • Therefore, till such time, no new licensing conditions, including that of traffic management practices for net neutrality etc., should be imposed on TSPs.

What is Net Neutrality?

It means that governments and internet service providers treat all data on the internet equally and does not differentially charge consumers for higher-quality delivery or giving preferential treatment to certain websites.

  • Network neutrality requires all Internet service providers (ISPs) to provide the same level of data access and speed to all traffic, and that traffic to one service or website cannot be blocked or degraded.

How net neutrality is treated/regulated in India?

  • The net neutrality principles, approved by the telecom department in 2018, prohibit service providers from discriminating against internet content and services by blocking, throttling or according preferential higher speeds.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Net neutrality?
  2. Examples.
  3. TRAI guidelines on this.

Mains Link:

What do you understand by net neutrality? Why is it significant? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.