A demonstrator opposed to the roll back of net neutrality rules holds a sign outside the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) headquarters (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Telecom Commission Approves Net Neutrality, New Telecom Policy

The Telecom Commission today approved net neutrality rules which bar service providers from discriminating against internet content and services by blocking, throttling or granting them higher speed access.

Some mission critical applications or services like remote surgery and autonomous cars will however be kept out of the purview of net neutrality framework.

“The Telecom Commission today approved net neutrality as recommended by TRAI except some critical services which will be kept out of its purview,” Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan told reporters.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had recommended restrictions on service providers from entering into agreements which lead to discriminatory treatment of content on the Internet.

Also read: Why TRAI Left Out ‘Specialised Services’ From Net Neutrality Ambit

The commission also approved the new telecom policy – National Digital Communications Policy 2018 – for seeking approval of the Union Cabinet, Sundararajan said.

“Everybody in the meeting today said that digital infrastructure is even more important than physical infrastructure for India,” said Amitabh Kant, chief executive officer of Niti Aayog, adding that “for districts, we must ensure digital infrastructure is provided at the earliest..which is why India must have ease of doing business and enabling policy environment.”

An official, who was part of the meeting, said that the commission has approved installation of around 12.5 lakh WiFi hotspot in all gram panchayats with viability gap funding of around Rs 6,000 crore by December 2018.

Also read: Telecom Regulator Bats For Net Neutrality, But With Riders