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Internet should be open and free: Trai chief

NEW DELHI: Internet should be open and accessible to everyone, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India chairman R S Sharma said after releasing recommendations on the net neutrality.

R S Sharma

“Internet should be kept open and free and not cannibalised. No one owns Internet, so, it should be open and accessible to everyone,” Sharma said.

Internet is an important platform for the country, especially in the context of innovation, start-ups, online transactions, various government applications, and the Digital India programme, he said.

When asked to comment on the US Federal Communications Commission proposal to roll back net neutrality rules of 2015, Sharma said Trai has kept the Indian context in mind while framing its recommendations. “We have 500 million net subscribers and 1.3 billion population… big things will happen on internet and it is important to keep it open,” Sharma said.

“Networks should not prefer one content over other…should not block or offer fast lane (to certain content),” he said.

Trai, in its recommendations on Tuesday, upholded free and fair access to internet in India, it barred internet service providers from discrimination or interference in content including blocking, slowing down or giving preferential speeds or treatment to any content on internet. However, it allowed certain exemptions for specialised services which are optimised for specific content and are not internet services.

Though, he declined comment on when Net neutrality rules will be implemented, saying a final view will be decided by the Department of Telecommunications.

The regulator will come out with a consultation paper on over-the-top (OTT) players soon.

With Agencies