Telecom regulators from India and the European Union (EU) met this week to announce their common understanding of the "building blocks of net neutrality rules", and their intention to collaborate on regulations. Representatives of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and the Body of European Regulators for Electronics Communication (BEREC) on Thursday in Sopat, Poland signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to "advocate for effective electronics communications regulation." The two also released a "Joint Statement for the Open Internet", that defined the heretofore mentioned building blocks.
The MoU was said to show the willingness of both sides to develop regular exchanges regarding the implementation and preservation of net neutrality rules. The regulators said they intend to "promote competitive markets, technological innovation, and value for consumers."
In their joint statement, TRAI and BEREC listed what they consider to be the foundation of net neutrality rules, common to current frameworks of both India and EU. These included the enforcement of end users' rights to send or receive information; the equal treatment of traffic; provision for reasonable traffic management if transparent and non-discriminatory; provision for commercial practices such as zero rating if they complement competition and promote an open Internet, and finally, the users' right to detailed information on Internet providers, prices, as well as current traffic management measures.
The regulators may impose additional requirements allowed by their respective legislative frameworks on top of these building blocks, the joint statement added. Representing the two bodies were TRAI Chairman Dr. Ram Sewak Sharma and BEREC Chair Johannes Gungl. Commenting on the MoU, Gungl said, "Net neutrality is a vital principal and an open internet crucial for people around the globe. We are very happy to have TRAI as a partner to ensure a univocal protection of net neutrality principles for internet access services."
R.S. Sharma said, "We consider that the internet will continue to be an enabler of growth and innovation for countries like India who can use technology to leapfrog to the next stage of development. Therefore, it is important that the internet is kept as an open and non-discriminatory platform. Our MoU with BEREC gives us an opportunity to not only work closely together in areas like net neutrality, but also to collaborate in areas where the EU has adopted a very effective regulatory framework like consumer protection, broadband development and promotion of NGA rollout.