Can telcos supervise net speed and traffic? Govt call on it soon

In a decision that will have wide-reaching ramifications on the issue of net neutrality, the government’s top body on telecom matters is likely to take a call soon on whether mobile companies should be allowed to manage network speeds and internet traffic.

The digital communications commission (DCC), the inter-ministerial decision-making body on telecom issues, will decide whether it wants to go with regulator TRAI’s views on the matter that gave a free hand to mobile companies, though seeking transparency for telecom users and customers. 

Sources said the DCC will look into the issue, which also has a direct bearing on net neutrality that guarantees the same quality of internet for the entire gamut of online users.

In its recommendations, TRAI had said in 2020 that mobile operators may be allowed to manage network speeds and traffic, but these may be based on carefully-framed rules and should carry transparency for telecom users and customers when they impact services for a longer period. 

It emphasized that transparency regarding traffic management practices (controlling the back-end and flow of mobile networks) adopted by telcos can be a critical factor in ensuring adherence to the principles of non-discrimination. 

“Transparency by telcos also enables regulators and other stakeholders in the ecosystem to detect any violations and monitor the quality of services available to users,” the regulator had said in the recommendations that were sent to the Department of Telecom (DoT).