Centre for Internet & Society

This submission presents counter-comments by CIS in response to the consultation paper floated by the TRAI on the topic of ‘Traffic Management Practices (TMPs) and Multi-Stakeholder Body for Net Neutrality’. These counter-comments take stock of the submissions made by commentators on these issue, and also CIS’ previous work on areas of net neutrality.

About Traffic Management Practices

The issue of traffic management practices (TMP) has continued to be a challenge as the foundations of the internet have continued to develop. While initially deployment of similar hardware, with the availability of excess bandwidth would have sufficed, fast innovation has revealed the limitations of this structure. Such innovation has also changed the nature of content that travels over transmission - from mere text, it has now changed to content that can be only functional if traffic is prioritized. In light of keeping the functionality of the internet afloat therefore, TMPs became necessary. 

On the other hand, Dr. Schewick, in her seminal text ‘Network Neutrality and Quality of Service: What a Non-Discrimination Rule Should Look Like’, defines net neutrality as rules that limit “the ability of Internet service providers to interfere with the applications, content, and services on their networks; they allow users to decide how they want to use the Internet without interference from Internet service providers.” To that extent, traffic management practices become paramount, since regulation on this topic would ultimately determine the effectiveness of any net neutrality regime. Our counter-comments below, accordingly keeps the principle of prioritizing user-choice as a primary level concern, while also emphasizing the business aspect of TSPs.

Elonnai Hickok provided edits to the submission.

The full version of our counter-comments can be accessed here.

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