In a recent development, TRAI is consolidating its view on Net Neutrality and differential pricing of data services and will take a stand by the month’s end.
A huge number of telecom companies, consumer rights groups, industry bodies and individuals participated in this open-house discussion on differential pricing of data services with the net neutrality activist opposing against differential pricing.
TRAI Chairman R S Sharma told reporters after the discussion, “It was a very lively consultation. The hall was full, a lot of people participated and gave their views, comments, thoughts and I think we will take all these into account. And we hope that by the end of this month, we will come out with our position,”.
Sharma said that Stakeholders can send their additional comments by Monday evening.
When asked whether TRAI will come out with a consultation paper on Net neutrality, he said, “I cannot at this point of time say what TRAI can do in future in the larger issue of Net neutrality, but we will certainly take a call.” Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and Facebook are locked in a war of words over the differential pricing debate. According to the regulator, the campaign by Facebook to defend its free Internet platform, Free Basics, in India is “wholly misplaced as the consultation paper is on differential pricing for data services and not on any particular product or service.”
Recently, Facebook has started a huge campaign to project its Free Basics platform as a tool to spread Web connectivity. Earlier, RCOM has been asked by the regulator to hold its launch of Free Basics till any recommendations have been finalized on the matter.
Sharma also replied on being informed that the free service is still continuing that, “As far as we know, we had requested the telecom company concerned to keep the commercial launch of the service in abeyance. They have confirmed to us in writing that the commercial launch has been kept in abeyance.”
Telecom operators are arguing that differential pricing is critical for growth and the activists are saying that it curbs on freedom of choice to access the internet.