TRAI seeks feedback on traffic management practices under net neutrality

TRAI seeks feedback on traffic management practices under net neutrality
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3 Jan, 2020

The Trai (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has released a consultation paper that seeks feedback on traffic management practices related to net neutrality in India. 

It may also establish a multi-stakeholder body with a framework for collaborative interactions between stakeholders, Trai said in an official consultation paper.

The regulatory authority has set the cutoff for comments and feedback as January 30, while February 13 is the date for submission of counter comments.

Trai had first released its set of recommendations on net neutrality on November 28, 2017, after which the DoT (Department of Telecommunications), on June 17, 2019, stated that it would form a set of traffic management practices.

“Since the necessary traffic management practices shall form part of license agreements to be enforced by the DoT, it would be in the fitness of things that they are formulated by the DoT,” Trai stated in its official consultation paper.

The 34-page paper discusses issues pertaining to measurement of internet traffic and compiling a reasonable set of traffic management practices, the telecom regulator said in the paper.

The established multi-stakeholder body would be a not-for-profit and be led by the industry. It will mostly comprise members representing different categories of telecom service providers, internet service providers, members from academia and civil society organisations, and consumer representatives.

However, the DoT decided that the proposed multi-stakeholder body should have an advisory role and “the monitoring and enforcement functions for net neutrality shall rest with the DoT,” the regulator said.

The paper said that there could be a number of traffic management practices that are deployed in networks for different requirements. However, some of them may pose an issue in terms of net neutrality and may not need to be applied in general, while some may be necessary for specific requirements. “However, such traffic management practices must be applied in a proportionate and transient manner. To monitor and enforce net neutrality in an objective and transparent manner, it might be required to list out reasonable traffic management practices and conditions when these may be applied,” the paper said.

A recent Trai report showcased that India has close to 665.31 million internet subscribers, with wired internet subscribers making 21.67 million and wireless subscribes making 643.64 million of the user base respectively. Of this, wired internet subscribers are 21.67 million and wireless internet subscribers are 643.64 million. The total mobile internet wireless subscribers are 643.09 million. 

“Performing measurements for monitoring traffic management practices for such a large subscriber base that reflects the actual experience of consumers would be a major challenge. The body conducting such measurements may face several challenges,” Trai stated.