In August, the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) notified amendments to the unified licence (UL), unified access service licence and licences for cellular mobile telephone service, virtual network operators and internet service providers in order to ensure neutrality of all content being transferred over the internet. The amendments were made after extensive consultation with various stakeholders, which led to the release by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) of Recommendations on Net Neutrality in November 2017. These recommendations endorse the basic principle of net neutrality – “non-discriminatory treatment of content” over the internet.
The access service licence in the UL regime already had a provision for distribution of certain services on a “non-discriminatory” basis. Despite the existence of this provision, companies entered into agreements that provided preferential treatment of content. Therefore, the recent amendments go a step further and comprehensively define the contours of net neutrality law in India.
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Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas is India’s largest full-service law firm. Asim Abbas, a partner at the firm, was assisted by Shashank Singh, an associate.
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