Last year, India's telecom regulator had made several recommendations to the government about handling complaints concerning Net Neutrality and framing guidelines for ISPs. The Indian government appears to no longer have the appetite to create a multi-stakeholder body to enforce Net Neutrality. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on June 25 wrote a memo to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) expressing discomfort at a September 2020 recommendation to "establish a multi-stakeholder body (MSB) to ensure that Internet Access Providers adhere to the provisions of net neutrality in their license." Net Neutrality is the principle that all data on the internet should be treated equally, without selective blocking, paid prioritisation (for handpicked apps or websites), or discriminatory pricing (which includes practices like zero rating). Strict Net Neutrality standards were codified into India's Unified License, basically becoming law, in July 2018. The DoT complained that this recommendation — a large multi-stakeholder body with all ISPs [Internet Service Providers] and telecom providers, as well as civil society and researcher participation — would be complex to run and cost the government too much money. "In view of austerity measures being undertaken by the Government due to COVID-19 pandemic, it is prudent to prevent avoidable expenditure," the DoT said in its letter to the TRAI secretary. The government also complained that TRAI did not prescribe any Traffic Management Practices (TMPs). TMPs are techniques that ISPs use to manage traffic and can manifest in several ways, including those that violate Net Neutrality. TRAI had recommended…
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