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Some Indian ISPs are violating Net Neutrality with fast lanes

Even as TRAI moves closer to making recommendations on Net Neutrality, with an Open House Discussion on the consultation scheduled for Tuesday in Bangalore, some broadband providers are violating Net Neutrality with fast lanes, and in some cases, advertising these violations openly. Broadband provider Ortel, for example, offers separate speeds for regular Internet traffic, and web content that the ISP caches in servers that it maintains. While caching itself is not against Net Neutrality, Ortel's tariff sheet (see below) mentions that cached content is always served ten to 40 times faster than un-cached Internet traffic. Speaking to MediaNama, the Vice President of Ortel's Broadband business Jiji John denied that the ISP's caching violated Net Neutrality. In a statement, John said, "Cache concept is totally based on the Internet user's browsing. ISP does not control the contents and it has nothing to do with Net Neutrality." This practice is not uncommon. Alliance Broadband, a West Bengal-based Internet provider, offers separate speeds for Hotstar, Google and popular torrents, which are anywhere between 3–12Mbps faster than the speed of the rest of the Internet. What's more, they are adding up these separate lanes and advertising the sum as the 'total bandwidth'; meaning, if Hotstar is 8Mbps, torrents are 12Mbps, and the rest of the Internet is 5Mbps, your 'total bandwidth' is 25Mbps, even though the only way to attain that speed is to stream Hotstar, download a popular torrent, and browse the Internet simultaneously. An Alliance Broadband technician confirmed that the ISP does peering for…

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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