The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released a pre-consultative paper on net neutrality that seeks to introduce a framework for internet usage. The proposal is to identify the issues in this area, before a policy is drafted for the same. It will be floated among operators, internet companies and consumers for feedback.

Earlier this year, the telecom regulatory ruled against Facebook’s Free Basics and Airtel’s Zero entering the Indian market to provide free services. It upheld the principle of net neutrality, according to which internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites.

The draft questions the definition and core principles of net neutrality in the Indian context, the key issues that need to be considered to ensure principles of net neutrality and whether India should approach the topic through policy or regulation.

At present, there are 331 million internet users, of which 94% use wireless internet. The government is pushing its Digital India agenda, urging people to start using internet services. This makes TRAI’s move significant, as the regulatory body needs to create a new model for internet usage.

Separately, TRAI has also released a draft policy to make internet free for users across the country. It has welcomed suggestions from all stakeholders on the concept of making internet free of cost. TRAI chief RS Sharma recently backed this concept, encouraging the public to give its feedback.

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