TRAI recommends forming Multi-Stakeholder Body to monitor net neutrality norms

The MSBs role will be to provide advice and support to DoT regarding monitoring and enforcement of net neutrality principles

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Sep 22, 2020 5:26 PM
TRAI

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has released Recommendations on "Traffic Management Practices (TMPs) and Multi-Stakeholder Body for Net Neutrality", after a multistage consultation process.

TRAI had sent its recommendations on net neutrality to the central government in November 2017. This included the Principle of Non-Discriminatory Treatment of Content, Applicability of Non-Discrimination Principle and Exclusions, Reasonable Traffic Management, Transparency and Disclosures, the establishment of a multi-stakeholder body for Monitoring and Enforcement etc.

The government has accepted the recommendations with few variances and sought additional recommendations on the Traffic Management Practices (TMPs) and Multi-Stakeholder Body i.e. "the necessary Traffic Management Practices (TMPs), and the composition, functions, role, and responsibilities of the multi-stakeholder body for consideration of DoT", vide DoT letter dated 31st of July 2018 and DoT letter dated 17th of June 2019.

In arriving at these recommendations on 'Traffic Management Practices (TMPs) and Multi-Stakeholder Body for Net Neutrality', TRAI issued a consultation paper on 2nd January, 2020, and raised various issues like preparation of a comprehensive list of reasonable Traffic Management Practices (TMPs), framework and mechanism to prepare and publish such list, composition, functions, role, and responsibilities of the multi-stakeholder body etc. for comments and counter comments from stakeholders.

According to the recommendations, the DoT may frame a policy for IAS providers to inform affected users regarding the impact of applied TMPs. The IAS providers may be required to maintain complete and accurate records of instances of application of TMPs for future reference.

The DoT may establish a Multi Stakeholder Body (MSB) as a non-profit entity under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 by registering all licensed service providers (UL, VNO license, UASL, and CMTS licensees) as mandatory members, and further invite and/or nominate other stakeholders to become its members.

The MSB may comprise all TSPs and 1SPs (licence holders) and other stakeholders from among the content providers; research, academic and technical community; civil society organisations; consumers; and the government.

The MSB’s roles will be to provide advice and support to DoT regarding monitoring and enforcement of net neutrality principles. The responsibilities of MSB includes to provide support to DoT in creating and maintaining the Repository of TMPs, investigate complaints regarding the violation of net neutrality, submit reports based on monitoring of internet services, investigations of incidents, and review of reports submitted by its members, recommend suitable technical standards and methodologies on matters pertaining to best practices to be adopted for TMPs.

The functions of the MSB would be to perform the tasks of compilation and harmonisation of TMPs across all Internet Access Service (IAS) Providers, Maintain and publish the repository of TMPs, periodically review the TMPs listed in Repository of TMPs and reports on the application of TMPs, prepare technical standards and define methodologies in matters pertaining to net neutrality.

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