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09-Aug2018

DoT amends telecom licences to incorporate net neutrality rules

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has amended the licences of telecom operators and internet service providers to incorporate net neutrality rules in the country, which bar service providers from discriminating against internet content and services by blocking, throttling or granting them higher speed access. In a notification, DoT said that the government is committed to the fundamental principles and concepts of net neutrality.

Therefore, internet access services need to be governed by a principle that restricts any form of discrimination, restriction or interference in the treatment of content, including practices like blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds of treatment to any content. The telecom department has mentioned to keep critical internet of things services, which shall be identified by DoT, to be excluded from the restrictions of net neutrality. The amendments are to be issued by division managing particular licences.

The new amendment states that a telecom licence holder providing internet access service shall not engage in any discriminatory treatment of content, including based on sender or receiver, the protocols being used in or the user equipment. The amendment prohibits from entering into any arrangement, agreement or contract by whatever name called, with any person, natural or legal that has the effect of discriminatory treatment of content. According to the note, the amendments will include specific points around principle of non-discriminatory treatment, definition of specialised services and reasonable traffic management and other exceptions.


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