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TRA action please.

Internet service providers in Bahrain are violating net neutrality laws by the concept known as zero-rating. They are offering services such as YouTube, Facebook, Whatsapp, etc free while charging for the rest of the Internet traffic.

Following is an excerpt from Norway Communication Authority which explains it much better:

The Norwegian guidelines on net neutrality state quite clearly that "Internet users are entitled to an Internet connection that is free of discrimination with regard to type of application, service or content or based on sender or receiver address." This means that in the Norwegian market zero-rating would constitute a violation of the guidelines. At first glance it may appear that all traffic is handled equally in this charging model, but the fact is that once you have used your quota, the traffic that is exempted will be allowed to continue, while all other traffic will be throttled or blocked. This is clearly a case of discrimination between different types of traffic.

There are of course arguments in favour of zero-rating that make the method seem quite fair. As consumers, we may find it advantageous that we do not have to pay (extra) for a particular type of traffic. Nevertheless, zero-rating leads to selected traffic from the Internet service provider itself or affiliated providers being favoured above other traffic. And this is exactly the kind of situation net neutrality aims to avoid - allowing the Internet service provider to decide how we use the Internet. Instead, the Internet should remain an open, neutral platform for all types of communication.

The Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority has long been working actively for net neutrality for the benefit of Norwegian consumers, organisations and businesses. The Internet is important to the economy, cultural diversity, social life and democracy, and the authority therefore works to preserve the Internet as an open platform. Internet service providers should use methods other than discrimination of content and/or applications to differentiate their products.

One possibility is differentiation on the basis of speed, in line with the Norwegian guidelines on net neutrality.

I request the TRA to take a stand regarding this issue.

Nawaid Parkar

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Article Type:Excerpt
Date:Apr 16, 2015
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