Sunday, March 29, 2015

TRAI seeks comments on Net Neutrality in India

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has published a consultation paper asking for comments from stakeholders on important questions related to net neutrality. When it comes net neutrality all of us are stakeholders as users of the open and transparent Internet. So we should all submit our views on these important questions. Please read the document (it's long but it's very informative) and send in your responses by 8th April, 2015.

Here are the questions asked:

Question 1 
Is it too early to establish a regulatory framework for OTT services, since internet penetration is still evolving, access speeds are generally low and there is limited coverage of high-speed broadband in the country? Or, should some beginning be made now with a regulatory framework that could be adapted to changes in the future?

Question 2
Should the OTT players offering communication services (voice, messaging and video call services) through applications (resident either in the country or outside) be brought under the licensing regime?

Question 3
Is the growth of OTT impacting the traditional revenue stream of TSPs? If so, is the increase in data revenues of the TSPs sufficient to compensate for this impact?

Question 4
Should the OTT players pay for use of the TSPs network over and above data charges paid by consumers? If yes, what pricing options can be adopted? Could such options include prices based on bandwidth consumption? Can prices be used as a means of product/service differentiation?

Question 5 
Do you agree that imbalances exist in the regulatory environment in the operation of OTT players? If so, what should be the framework to address these issues? How can the prevailing laws and regulations be applied to OTT players (who operate in the  virtual world) and compliance enforced? What could be the impact on the economy?

Question 6
How should the security concerns be addressed with regard to OTT players providing communication services? What security conditions such as maintaining data records, logs etc. need to be mandated for such OTT players? And, how can compliance with these conditions be ensured if the applications of such OTT players reside outside the country?

Question 7 
How should the OTT players offering app services ensure security, safety and privacy of the consumer? How should they ensure protection of consumer interest?

Question 8 
In what manner can the proposals for a regulatory framework for OTTs in India draw from those of ETNO, referred to in para 4.23 or the best practices summarised in para 4.29? And, what practices should be proscribed by regulatory fiat?

Question 9 
What are your views on net-neutrality in the Indian context? How should the various principles discussed in para 5.47 be dealt with?

Question 10 
What forms of discrimination or traffic management practices are reasonable and consistent with a pragmatic approach? What should or can be permitted?

Question 11 
Should the TSPs be mandated to publish various traffic management techniques used for different OTT applications? Is this a sufficient condition to ensure transparency and a fair regulatory regime?

Question 12 
How should the conducive and balanced environment be created such that TSPs are able to invest in network infrastructure and CAPs are able to innovate and grow? Who should bear the network upgradation costs?

Question 13 
Should TSPs be allowed to implement non-price based discrimination of services? If so, under what circumstances are such practices acceptable? What restrictions, if any, need to be placed so that such measures are not abused? What measures should be adopted to ensure transparency to consumers?

Question 14 
Is there a justification for allowing differential pricing for data access and OTT communication services? If so, what changes need to be brought about in the present tariff and regulatory framework for telecommunication services in the country?

Question 15 
Should OTT communication service players be treated as Bulk User of Telecom Services (BuTS)? How should the framework be structured to prevent any discrimination and protect stakeholder interest?

Question 16 
What framework should be adopted to encourage Indiaspecific OTT apps?

Question 17 
If the OTT communication service players are to be licensed, should they be categorised as ASP or CSP? If so, what should be the framework?

Question 18 
Is there a need to regulate subscription charges for OTT communication services?

Question 19 
What steps should be taken by the Government for regulation of non-communication OTT players?

Question 20 
Are there any other issues that have a bearing on the subject discussed?



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