The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday is finally out with its notification on differential pricing. In the meeting TRAI has made its stand clear that “no company to offer/charge discriminatory tariffs for data on basis of content”. This move is a big win for net neutrality.
The TRAI added that a service provider may reduce tariff for providing emergency services or at times of any crucial emergencies. The same has to be reported to authority within seven working days. The TRAI says it will order service providers to withdraw such tariff and will penalise the service provider with Rs 50,000 for each day of infringement.
For those inexperienced, it began with TRAI floating a consultation paper seeking views if differential pricing should be allowed, among the whole net neutrality debate. The regulator wanted to know what steps should be taken to ensure principles of non-discrimination, affordable Internet access, competition and so on if differential pricing is allowed.
Differential pricing means, different prices for different content aka apps, which violates net neutrality. So, differential pricing and net neutrality go hand-in-hand. Differential pricing won’t just change the way we’ve always used Internet, but obviously unfair and perceptive. The paper floated by TRAI received 24 lakh responses.
Telcos had written to TRAI, explaining differential pricing is essential for promoting innovation and growth of data services, and find support from Facebook. On the other hand, most voices out there, from startups to netizens, are against differential pricing. Most reports pointed that TRAI will be in favour of net neutrality.
In 2015, when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg visited India, he had supported for Free Basics and he wanted to India to support Facebook’s Free Basics. So this very important step taken by TRAI must have disappointed the Facebook.
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