India’s 1.3 Billion People Just Got Net Neutrality

Sucks to be you, America.

Posted on July 12, 2018, at 4:02 a.m. ET

India’s telecom commission on Wednesday approved net neutrality rules recommended by the country’s telecom regulator.

which means which internet service providers in India will not be allowed to artificially slow down or speed up some websites or services over others or provide zero-rating — the practice of excluding certain video streaming or music services coming from customers’ data caps.

Some services, such as remote surgery over the internet as well as internet-connected autonomous vehicles, among others, are exempt, although violating the rules for all various other services would likely put internet service providers at risk of losing their license.

Net neutrality means which internet service providers should treat all data — video, audio, text, images, as well as more — passing through their networks equally without favoring particular kinds of content over others.

Consumer advocacy groups as well as activists around the globe have long argued which net neutrality is usually crucial for an open internet. Without which, an internet service provider like Comcast, for instance, could strike a deal with Netflix to make sure which Netflix videos load faster on its network than videos coming from various other services, effectively killing off any competition.

Enforcing net neutrality rules is usually a significant win for India’s 1.3 billion people. Nearly half of the country’s population has internet access, as well as a drop in smartphone as well as data prices is usually producing getting online easier for the various other half.

The country is usually a large as well as important market for most Silicon Valley tech companies which are counting on which for growth after saturating developed markets like the US as well as the UK.

India’s fight to protect net neutrality began in 2015, when activists as well as privacy advocates mobilized the country’s internet users against Facebook’s controversial Free Basics program, which offered free access to a handful of websites — including Facebook — to Indians. Under pressure coming from thousands of citizens, the country’s telecom regulator banned zero-rating, effectively killing Free Basics within the country.

When the regulator proposed the current rules favoring net neutrality in India in November 2017, the BBC called them “the globe’s most progressive policy on equal internet access for all.”

India’s move contrasts sharply with the United States’ decision, which consisted of the Federal Communications Commission voting at the end of 2017 to repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules.

The repeal went into effect last month, which means which internet service providers within the US can currently charge customers a premium for providing high-quality video streaming, for instance, or make certain websites load faster than others.

To push back against the FCC’s repeal, some states within the US have introduced their own bills to protect net neutrality, the most prominent of which is usually the one which’s currently moving through the California legislature.

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