TRAI and European regulators (BEREC) signs MoU on Net Neutrality

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) on net neutrality with The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) on June 7.

The MoU was signed by TRAI chairman Ram Sewak Sharma and BEREC chairman Johannes Gungl. They also adopted a “Joint Statement for an Open Internet”, pledging to work together to ensure that the internet remains an open and non-discriminatory platform.

The MoU commits the two regulators to “collaborate closely and expose their common understanding of net neutrality” and to co-operate in sharing information that would help in enforcing net neutrality rules.

The regulators have also agreed to monitor interconnection deals and commercial practices like zero-rating to watch out for violations of principles. The zero rating is already illegal in India following the TRAI’s discriminatory tariff prohibition from last year.

BEREC and TRAI stress that openness and transparency towards stakeholders and end-users are key for both the conception and the implementation of Net Neutrality rules and guidelines. Regulators shall be committed, at various levels, to a dialogue with stakeholders in order to enhance their supervision.

The MoU has committed to the core principles common to both TRAI recommendations and EU net neutrality regulations. The points committed by MoU are how to measure and monitor “Net Neutrality” and identify breaches of the core principles; how to empower end-users and ensure they have the necessary transparency; how to assess the impact of commercial practices on the open internet; the impact and compatibility of new technological developments on the open internet.

The points are important for TRAI as it doesn’t have ready access to tools that can measure net neutrality violations. The MoU points out that BEREC is developing a tool to monitor net neutrality violations, to ensure that ISPs comply with Europe’s Open Internet Regulation. TRAI may now have ready access to that tool when its development is completed.