Can telcos manage network speed and traffic? Government call likely soon

NEW DELHI: In a decision that will have far-reaching implications for the issue of net neutrality, the government’s top body on telecoms affairs is likely to soon take a call on whether cellphone companies should be allowed to manage network speeds and Internet traffic.
The Digital Communications Commission (DCC), the inter-ministerial decision-making body on telecoms issues, will decide whether to join the views of regulator Trai on the issue, which has given mobile operators free rein despite seeking transparency for telecoms users and customers.
Sources said the DCC will address the issue, which also has a direct impact on net neutrality, which guarantees the same internet quality for the full range of online users.
In his recommendations in 2020, Trai said cellphone operators could be allowed to manage network speeds and traffic, but these can be based on carefully crafted rules and should be transparent to telecom users and customers if they affect services for an extended period of time.
It had stressed that transparency regarding the traffic management practices (controlling the back-end and flow of mobile networks) adopted by telecom operators can be a critical factor in ensuring compliance with the principles of non-discrimination.
“The transparency of telecom companies also allows regulators and other stakeholders in the ecosystem to identify violations and monitor the quality of services available to users,” the regulator had said in the recommendations sent to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). were sent.
Trai had said that for compiling traffic management practices by telecommunications companies, one approach might be to first identify such practices and then define the level of proportionality and transience that can be considered appropriate under the non-discrimination principle. It said the DoT could set up a multi-stakeholder body to ensure internet service providers comply with net neutrality provisions in their license.

Cheryl Tenny

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