TRAI has shared a memorandum of understanding on net neutrality with the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications. The MoU, titled ‘Joint Statement for an Open Internet’, is an announcement of intent by the two regulators to “collaborate closely and expose their common understanding of net neutrality”.
In November, TRAI issued recommendations to protect net neutrality, based on a months-long consultation process. Those recommendations are yet to be enacted by the telecom department. In the US, net neutrality rules that blocked speed-based discrimination such as throttling and paid prioritisation were formally rolled back this month.
What TRAI and BEREC’s MoU says
The MoU commits BEREC and TRAI to co-operate in sharing information that would help in enforcing net neutrality rules. This is particularly important for TRAI, since it doesn’t have ready access to tools that can measure net neutrality violations. The MoU points out that BEREC is developing a tool to monitor net neutrality violations, to ensure that ISPs comply with Europe’s Open Internet Regulation. TRAI may now have ready access to that tool when its development is completed.
The regulators have also agreed to monitor interconnection deals and commercial practices like zero-rating to watch out for violations of principles. Zero rating is already illegal in India due to TRAI’s discriminatory tariff prohibition from last year.
Here are the specific points that the MoU commits to, on the basis of core principles common to both TRAI recommendations and EU net neutrality regulations:
— how to measure and monitor “Net Neutrality” and identify breaches of the core principles;
— how to empower end-users and ensure they have the necessary transparency;
— how to assess the impact of commercial practices on the open internet;
— the impact and compatibility of new technological developments on the open internet.
Feature image from UKE, Poland’s Office of Electronic Communications.