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Reply to RTI filed with BSNL regarding Network Neutrality and Throttling

As part of its work on Network Neutrality, the Centre for Internet and Society through Tarun Krishnakumar had filed a Right To Information (RTI) application with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL), a state-owned teleco holding a market share of 65 per cent in the Indian land line and broadband markets — regarding its position on and adherence to Network Neutrality principles.

The application — targeted at easing the information asymmetry between internet service providers (ISPs) and consumers — elicited responses that provide interesting insights into the functioning of ISPs in India.

The application queried BSNL about its:

  • Adherence to net neutrality / non-discrimination principles
  • Throttling on the basis of content
  • Throttling on the basis of protocol
  • Limiting traffic / speeds for pornographic websites
  • Limiting traffic / speeds for P2P / torrent connection

In its reply, BSNL denied all forms of throttling on the basis of content and reaffirmed that it is bound by the terms of its ISP license granted by the Department of Telecommunications. The application and response are below:

 

Application:

Request for Information under the Right to Information Act, 2005

To,

Sh. Suresh Kumar
Addl.GM (MIS)  & CPIO ,BSNL Co.
R. No. -29, IR Hall
Eastern Court, Janpath
New Delhi – 110001

Date of application: 08-10-2014

Subject: Network Neutrality / Throttling / Data discrimination policies of BSNL

Please provide information as to the policies of BSNL / decisions taken in respect of the following questions. Please supply where possible a copy of the relevant documents, minutes of meeting, position papers etc.

  1. Does BSNL support the principle of net neutrality and non-discrimination of data?
  2. Does BSNL regulate internet traffic flows depending on the type of content being accessed by the user on its broadband connections?
  3. Does BSNL regulate internet traffic flows depending on the type of protocol being used by the user on its broadband connections?
  4. Please provide details of the various types of content/protocols for which BSNL regulates traffic and the nature of such regulations, restrictions as the case may be.
  5. Please provide a list of traffic for which BSNL engages in limiting internet speed or throttling.
  6. Does BSNL limit internet traffic or upload/download speeds for pornographic websites and content?
  7. Does BSNL limit internet traffic or upload/download speeds for Peer-to-peer or torrent connections?

Please provide copies of all documents that pertain to BSNL’s policies and decisions in this regard.

It is certified that I am a citizen of India and that I do not fall within the BPL category. I am enclosing Rupees thirty (Rs. 30) towards the application fee and photocopying costs under the RTI Act for the information and documents requested. Kindly inform me at the address stated below if any further fees are required to be paid.

Applicant:

Tarun Krishnakumar
Centre for Internet and Society
No.194, 2nd C Cross Road, Domlur II Stage,
Bangalore - 560071

 

RESPONSE FROM BSNL:


To,

Sh. Tarun Krishnakumar
Centre for Internet and Society
No. 194, 2nd C Cross Road, Domulur II stage,
Bengaluru – 560071

Subject: Supply of Information under RTI ACT – 2005

Case of Shri. Tarun Krishnakumar – reg.

Ref:  -   1. No. BSNL/BBNW/RTI Act/Vol II/2012-13/52 dtd 28.10.2014

2. No. 23-744/14-RTI dtd 21.10.2014

With reference to the above subject, for the point wise information furnished as below:

  1. BSNL is following the guidelines as per the ISP License Agreement of DOT.
  2. NO, BSNL is NOT regulating the Internet traffic flow based on content.
  3. NO, BSNL is not regulating the Internet traffic flow based on the type of protocol.
  4. Not Applicable
  5. Not Applicable
  6. NO
  7. NO
  8. The documents relating to above are available on DOT’s website http://dot.gov.in

(Sd/-)

DE Admin and APIO
O/o General Manager
BBNW, BSNL,
5th floor, BG (E), TE Building,
Lazar Road, Fraser Town,
Bengaluru – 560005
Tel No. 080 - 25808878

Copy to:

  1. The Addl. GM (A) & CPIP O/o CGM, BBNW, New Delhi for information pl.

The scanned version of the reply is available here.

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