Singapore's stance on net neutrality remains unchanged despite US developments: IMDA
The country's position on net neutrality - which ensures that all content providers on the Web are treated equally by Internet service providers (ISPs) - remains unchanged despite recent developments in the United States.
The Infocommunications Media Development Authority (IMDA), which regulates Internet policy here, told The Straits Times on Friday (Dec 15) that there are no plans to revise its take on the matter even as regulators in the US voted on Thursday to repeal net neutrality rules which were implemented in 2015.
Net neutrality dictates that ISPs should not charge users extra costs to access specific online content, nor slow down access to sites which take up too much bandwidth. This leads to a free and open Internet where users are granted equal rights and access to online content.
The authorities first took its stance on net neutrality in 2011, when the-then Info-communications Development Authority of Singapore released a white paper detailing its policy.
"Since the formalisation of the net neutrality policy, IMDA has been monitoring international development, including US and domestic market practices, as well as actively engaging the stakeholders in Singapore," said an IMDA spokesman.
"Currently, there is no need to revise our policy approach and we have not found any pattern to suggest that ISPs are operating in breach of this policy."
Singapore's current net neutrality policy forbids ISPs from blocking "legitimate Internet content", according to the white paper.
They also cannot implement practices which render content "effectively inaccessible or unusable".
This means that while ISPs can still throttle Internet traffic, they cannot do so to the extent that users are practically unable to access websites or the Internet. However, there is no definition of what constitutes "unusable" connectivity.
ISPs here are also allowed to offer specialised or customised plans to differentiate themselves from competition.
This lets ISPs, including telcos, offer what is known as zero-rating plans, where certain services do not count towards, for instance, a monthly data cap.