Network Neutrality Regulation Across South Asia: A Policy Brief towards an evidence based research agenda

This policy brief examines key themes highlighted during a series of roundtable discussions exploring South Asian Perspectives on Net Neutrality, hosted by the Centre for Internet and Society in association with the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Observer Research Foundation and IT for Change and provides recommendations for future research agendas on net neutrality towards the development of evidence based policy and regulatory solutions.

The first roundtable “South Asian Perspectives on Net Neutrality” was held in New Delhi on 12th December, 2015, where the potential market effects of net neutrality regulation and zero-rated platforms were discussed, and the themes of competition and regulation within the market were analysed in detail. The second roundtable, “Network Neutrality Regulation across South Asia: A Roundtable on Aspects of Differential Pricing”, was held in Bangalore on 22nd January, 2016 where the discussion revolved around differential pricing and viable regulatory
frameworks for net neutrality that could be implemented in South Asian markets.

The core objectives of these roundtables was to develop a research agenda around net neutrality, analyse the impact of net neutrality on the market, and also to consider viable regulatory frameworks for the South Asian ecosystem. The roundtables were attended by various members of the Indian telecom industry, former advisors to regulatory bodies, lawyers, civil society representatives and other stakeholders. The discussions from the roundtables emphasized the need for evidence-based empirical research to inform policy that enables a fair market with the objective of providing equal and affordable internet to all sectors.

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