Authored by Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Apoorva Sharma, Sindhu Reddy, Madhulika Agarwal
This report was a response to a pre-consultation paper released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the relationship between net neutrality and quality of internet service. The report also considers the issue of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls and whether they are a threat to national security or privacy.
The Centre for Law & Policy Research (“CLPR”) is a non-partisan, not-for profit law and policy research institution based in Bangalore. CLPR has been active in the field of media law and telecommunications regulation and offers wide ranging expertise in such fields.
At the outset, we support the core principles of net neutrality: non-discriminatory treatment of both content and applications using the Internet. Network neutrality is best defined as a network design principle that requires a public information network to treat all content, sites, and platforms equally and carry every form of information and support every kind of application. The other major principle that motivates our responses is the principle of administrative forbearance which requires regulatory agencies to have a hands off approach to the relatively nascent field of Internet regulation and act only when there is a failure of other applicable private, public and criminal law to maintain net neutrality. Rapidly changing technology and user requirements have made it very difficult for conventional forms of regulation to be useful or comprehensive.