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India’s new net neutrality regime puts the US to shame

July 12, 2018

The country’s framework comes into force just as America has scrapped its own net neutrality rules.
The news: After years of debate, India has introduced regulations that forbid internet service providers serving the country’s half a billion web users from blocking or throttling almost all kinds of internet traffic. According to the Wire, the country’s telecom authority will cancel the licenses of any firms that break the new rules.
The (few) exceptions: India’s also banning “zero rating,” which lets companies pay internet providers to give people access to some services for free. But bandwidth can be manipulated for traffic related to things like autonomous vehicles and critical infrastructure.
Why this matters: As we’ve argued before, without net neutrality rules small startups will be badly handicapped against deep-pocketed businesses that can easily afford to pay for internet “fast lanes.” That harms both competition and innovation. Sadly, the Trump administration dumped America’s federal net neutrality regime last month. India’s move will hopefully reinforce the determination of US states to create their own rules to replace it.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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