India has adopted a host of net neutrality recommendations that prevent operators from providing different speeds for different online services.
The recommendations were made in November 2017 by the Telecom Regulatory Association of India (TRAI).
“Any deviations and violations of the rules of net neutrality — which come into effect almost immediately — will be met with stiff penalties,” said Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundarajan.
Supporters of net neutrality argue allowing operators to favour certain companies would disadvantage small businesses, startups and niche interest sites, making the internet less democratic.
They also make the case that some of today’s tech giants, such as Google, would not have been able to grow to the same size without net neutrality – repealing or weakening protections could amount to ‘pulling up the ladder’.
The move comes as India’s population rapidly comes online – India will have 500 million internet users by this time next year.
A previous net neutrality push in the Asian country forced Facebook to abandon its ‘Facebook Basics’ free internet service, which gave Indians access to a limited number of sites for free via a Facebook account. Google was forced to abandon a similar initiative.
The USA recently repealed net neutrality under the Trump administration, though a number of states have maintained the laws in devolved form.
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