India’s 1.3 Billion People Just Got Net Neutrality

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

This kind of 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 by customers’ data caps.

Some services, such as remote surgery over the internet in addition to internet-connected autonomous vehicles among others are exempt, nevertheless violating the rules for all various other services could 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, in addition to more — passing through their networks equally without favoring particular kinds of content over others.

Consumer advocacy groups in addition to activists around the planet have long argued which net neutrality is actually crucial for an open internet. Without the item, 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 by various other services, effectively killing off any competition.

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

The country is actually a large in addition to important market for most Silicon Valley tech companies who are counting on the item for growth after saturating developed markets like the US in addition to the UK.

India’s fight to protect net neutrality began in 2015, when activists in addition to 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 by thousands of citizens, the country’s telecom regulator banned zero-rating, effectively killing Free Basics from the country.

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

India’s move contrasts sharply with the United States, where the Federal Communications Commission voted 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 from 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 from the US have introduced their own bills to protect net neutrality, the most prominent of which is actually the one which’s currently moving through the California legislature.

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