CASBAA on “Net Neutrality” in India: Never Mind Sloganeering, Focus on Economic Reality

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

In a submission to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), CASBAA offered views on several aspects of the hot-button "net neutrality" debate in India.

CASBAA's submission (which can be downloaded here.) stressed that whatever India decides on the current debate, no "net neutrality" rules should be read as guaranteeing consumers the right to consume pirated content. Regulations should safeguard access to lawful internet content, which does not include infringing copies of copyrighted programming.

CASBAA's other main point was that India's current extensive cable TV regulations should not be extended to OTT program offerings. The online content industry needs the freedom to innovate, which would be denied by a regulatory straitjacket.

Some of CASBAA's other observations included:

- Video has quickly come to have a dominant role in global internet traffic, and India is likely to develop a similar pattern.

- High quality networks necessary to serve up video content to consumers will require heavy investments.

- The government should avoid imposing regulatory approaches that impede investment.

- There is a role for the government to play, in guaranteeing basic consumer access to all the knowledge on the internet, and making sure consumers have adequate        information on the network management practices of their ISPs/mobile service providers. But consumers who want premium connections are going to have to be prepared to pay premium prices.


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