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

Amit Shah on India’s languages: What else he said

Home minister Amit Shah’s remark on the need for a single national language has rightly sparked a debate, but the headlines missed much in his speech about language, culture, and identity. Giving away Rajbhasha Gaurav Puraskar and Rajbhasha Kirti Puraskar awards on the occasion of Hin

On A Personal note with musician Apache Indian

Renowned British singer, songwriter and reggae DJ, Apache Indian (originally known as Steven Kapoor) shot to fame with his style of music which came to be known as bhangramuffin (also called bhangragga) – a mix of bhangra, reggaemuffin and traditional dance hall in the early 1990s. His style changed

Traffic fines: Find the sweet spot between penalty and self-goal

When close to five lakh people are killed in road accidents every year in India, road transport minister Nitin Gadkari should have been complimented on his not-so-populist move to impose higher fines for traffic violations. Instead, many people are unhappy and several states – mostly ruled by the BJP

A unique project gives new life to a chaotic Mumbai fishing village

Traditional fishermen or Kolis; synonymous with feasting, song and dance; are the original inhabitants of Mumbai. For generations, they have loved their vocation and prided in it. But their work and lifestyle are facing threats from reclamation, land acquisition by builders, lack of sustainable fishing pra

Modi pledges higher target for degraded land restoration

Addressing the Conference of Parties (COP14) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that India would raise its target of the total area that would be restored from its land degradation status from 21 million hectares to 26 millio



Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter