The Competition Commission of India on Friday said that Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) such as Akamai and Amazon Web Services should be monitored for enforcing Net Neutrality principles. CDNs are networks that connect content providers to internet service providers, and are a major component of the modern internet. In a market study of the telecom industry, the commission said:
Internet companies often utilise Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), such as Akamai and Cloudflare that provide geographically distributed servers, to facilitate faster delivery of their content to users. In turn, CDNs have agreements with ISPs or TSPs to host servers on their network. CDNs reduce congestion in the last mile, lower transit costs and improve overall network utilisation. With data traffic set to grow and a limited number of players controlling a significant proportion of internet traffic, there is a potential for anti-competitive agreements between CDNs, ISPs/TSPs and internet companies. Current TRAI regulations exempt CDNs from restrictions on nondiscriminatory treatment. Since commercial arrangements between internet companies, CDNs and ISPs/TSPs are not disclosed, monitoring of such arrangements and traffic patterns would help in ensuring net neutrality principles and fair competition.
The study cited a MediaNama article from 2017 examining why CDN companies rarely spoke out on Net Neutrality. The CCI also pointed to peering arrangements, where ISPs sometimes pay larger providers for backhaul connectivity, as something to keep an eye on. “Though net neutrality rules apply, issues related to their implementation in peering arrangements are still under consultation,” the report said.
The CCI report also said that for wireless telecom operators, a manageable 5G spectrum reserve price has to be set for the sake of the telecom industry’s health.