Govt to take a call on traffic management practices of telcos
NEW DELHI: In a decision that will have wide-reaching ramifications on the issue of net neutrality, the government’s top body on telecom matters will on Thursday take a call on whether mobile companies should be allowed to manage network speeds and internet traffic.
The digital communications commission (DCC), the inter-ministerial decision-making body on telecom issues, will decide whether it wants to go with regulator Trai’s views on the matter, that gave a free hand to mobile companies, though seeking transparency for telecom users and customers.
Sources said that the DCC will look into the issue, which also has a direct bearing on the concept of net neutrality that guarantees wants same quality of internet for the entire gamut of online users. In its recommendations on the topic of on ‘Traffic Management Practices (TMPs) and multi-stakeholder body for net neutrality’, regulator Trai had said in September 2020 that mobile operators may be allowed to manage network speeds and traffic, but these may be based on carefully-framed rules and should carry transparency for telecom users and customers when they impact services for a longer period.
The regulator had emphasised that transparency regarding traffic management practices (controlling the back-end and flow of mobile networks) adopted by telcos can be a critical factor in ensuring adherence to the principles of non-discrimination.
“Transparency by telcos also enables regulators and other stakeholders in the ecosystem to detect any violations and monitor the quality of services available to users,” the regulator had said in the recommendations that were sent to the department of telecom (DoT).
Trai had said that for compilation of traffic management practices adopted by telcos, one approach may be to first identify such practices and then define the extent of proportionality and transience which may be considered reasonable under the principle of non-discriminatory treatment. It said that the DoT may establish a multi-stakeholder body (MSB) to ensure that Internet Access Providers adhere to the provisions of net neutrality in their license.
“The MSB shall comprise all telcos and ISPs (license holders) and other stakeholders such as the content providers; researcher, academic and technical community; civil society organisations; consumers; and the government.”