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Telcos Want Net Neutrality Regulations to Apply to Websites, Apps, OEMs as Well

Telecom operators have demanded to bring all stakeholders such as websites, mobile applications and cellphone makers under the ambit of net neutrality regulation.

“We believe that the regulatory framework of net neutrality should not be limited to TSP (telecom service providers) only, but apply to all other stakeholders such as website, content or applications providers and handset manufacturers,” industry bodies COAI and AUSPI said in their submission to telecom regulator Trai.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has issued pre-consultation paper on net neutrality to ascertain issues that should be considered while framing rules for the widely debated subject.

The Cellular Operators Association of India and the Association of Unified Service Providers in India (AUSPI) in their joint submission said that Internet is an eco-system in itself which encompasses different stakeholders such as access services provisioning entities (telecom operators and Internest service firm), content services provisioning entities, services enabling entities (Device Manufactures) and services subscription entities which are users.

“For the Internet to remain neutral it is imperative that all the stakeholders should ensure that they on their part should not indulge in Blocking, Throttling and Paid prioritisation of any content or stakeholder or users on a selective basis,” the industry bodies said.

They said that any definition of net neutrality in the Indian context, should consider the factors of ‘Affordability’ and ‘Proliferation of the data network’.

Telecom operators boddies said that net neutrality regulation that has primacy of ‘Affordability’ and ‘Proliferation of the data network’ as its core philosophy and hence it should provide non-discriminatory Internet access to every citizen and implement same service same rules for the service providers.

It said that the net neutrality rules should “assess and mitigate the potential revenue loss to the government owing to non-regulation of the content/application developers offering same services as licensed telecom operators”.

The telecom bodies have submitted 14 points for consideration of Trai under net neutrality rules which include User Rights, right to create and access legal contents, no blocking of any lawful content, no degradation of Internet traffic based on the content,application, services and end user.

Telecom operators bodies have demanded over-the-top players like Skype, WhatsApp etc should be brought under same security laws as they are required to comply as “National security and privacy issues are of paramount importance, regardless of treatment of net neutrality”.

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