Highlights of the report of the committee headed by technocrat A.K. Bhargava that was asked to look at the entire gamut of net neutrality policies in India and make recommendations:
- Innovation and infrastructure have to be promoted simultaneously as neither can spread without the other. The policy should identify and eliminate actions that inhibit innovation abilities inherent in an open Internet world and investments in related infrastructure.
- User rights need to be ensured that service providers do not restrict the ability of the user to send, receive, display, use, post any legal content, application or service on the Internet, or restrict any kind of lawful Internet activity or use.
- OTT application services, available in the market for some time, enhance consumer welfare and increase productivity. Such services should be actively encouraged and any impediment in its expansion and growth should be removed.
- For OTT application services, there is no case for prescribing regulatory oversight similar to conventional communication services.
- Legitimate traffic management practices may be allowed but should be tested against the core principles of net neutrality.
- Traffic management is complex and specialized field and enough capacity building is needed before undertaking such an exercise.
- Content and application providers cannot be permitted to act as gatekeepers and use network operations to extract value in violation of core principles of net neutrality, even if it is for an ostensible public purpose.
- New legislations must incorporate principles of net neutrality. Till such time, interim norms enforceable through licensing conditions as suggested by the committee may be the way forward.