TRAI backs net neutrality, rejects differential pricing

Service providers can provide some content for free or on reduced tariff during “grave emergencies” like Chennai floods

taru

Taru Bhatia | February 8, 2016 | New Delhi




Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday took stand for network neutrality and ruled out any content discrimination on the basis of differential pricing or speed by telecom and internet service provider. 

Exercising its power under section 3 of TRAI Act 1997, the regulator has disallowed content discrimination by service providers under the new regulation called Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016. Content including applications, services and any other data including its end-point information that can be accessed or transmitted over internet, shall be accessed equally by consumers without paying extra or less for some.

“Everything on internet is subject to regulation,” said TRAI chairman RS Sharma addressing media on Monday.  The clauses in the regulation allow the regulator to intervene in the matter of violation.

TSPs or ISPs failing to fall in the line will be charged Rs 50, 000 a day by TRAI, the chairman said. The penalty can go up to Rs 50 lakh, as per the new regulation.

However, TRAI made an exception in cases of “grave emergencies” for service providers to provide emergency content to its users for free or on reduced tariff. “In situations of grave emergencies like Chennai floods, service providers can provide some content for free of cost or on reduced tariff which will be taken as exceptional cases,” Sharma said, adding that TSPs or ISPs have to notify TRAI within seven days after implementing such services.

Active services under zero-rating plan that come under the definition of differential pricing, a violation of net neutrality, will be allowed to continue until its expiry date, Sharma highlighted, adding that TSPs will be given six-month time to wind-up their services that falls under  zero-rating plan.

TSPs, including Aitel and Reliance Jio, that came up with zero-rating plans in India stirred debate of net neutrality. It was contested by the supporters of net neutrality that zero-rating plan violates internet freedom for users to access all content equally at any network, without paying extra for some. Moreover, the new or small content providers will be throttled by big players which can afford to subsidise its content to users, claims the supporters.

However, telcos, along with Facebook with its Digital Equality campaign, pushed for Free Basics saying such services will allow disconnected population to come on board through free content medium.

The new regulation will be experimented by TRAI to review its development to make necessary amendments in future.

 

Comments

 

Other News

On a personal note: DIVINE

An underground rapper who grew up on Mumbai streets, Divine spins his music around his environment and poverty. His breakout single, ‘Meri Gully Mein’, along with fellow rapper Naezy caught Bollywood’s attention. The Hindi film ‘Gully Boy’ is inspired by their lives and gr

The role model for an IAS officer

Anil Swarup, an IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre who retired in 2018, is a model bureaucrat who retained his optimism right till the end of service and exemplified dedication and commitment. His excitement at the opportunities that a job in the IAS provided is evident on every page of his new book publis

Reform of the civil services: At home and away

The question of reform of the civil services has been debated extensively at all levels at least over the last five to six decades after independence. Indeed, it was soon perceived that the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) may not be well equipped to deal with the problems of an emerging developing coun

The greatest challenge for any government

Shouting vengeance at all and sundry while wriggling out of holes of our own making seems to be our very special national characteristic. Some recent instances are illustrative of this attribute. A number of business tycoons with thousands of crores of unresolved debts have fled abroad with the government

The mysterious case of CBI’s legality

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) came into existence, based on a Resolution of the home ministry, dated April 1, 1963 – a sheer coincidence that it also happens to be April Fool’s day. Over the past few months, we have seen the CBI live up to its founding day with great zeal, being i

The Evolution of Modi

Gujarat was passing through a turbulent phase in the 1980s. The decade began middle class agitations against new reservation policies, and the caste friction turned communal under the watch of chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki, alienating majority of urban population on both counts. The ground was ripe for

Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter