Deadline for submission of comments on net neutrality paper extended to July 5

The Indian telecom regulator said that it has extended the last date for receiving comments from stakeholders on its pre-consultation paper on net neutrality to July 5 from June 21. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had issued the pre-consultation paper on the subject on May 30 this year. “On request from the stakeholders, the last date for receipt of written comments, if any, from the stakeholders has been extended up to 5th July 2016,” the regulator said in a statement.

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The pre-consultation paper seeks views from stakeholders on six key questions, including what should comprise the core principles and policy approach toward net neutrality in India. Through the paper, the regulator, has also sought views on the “reasonable traffic management practices” that telecom operators may need to adopt and in what manner these could be misused.

Trai also sought comments on precautions that need to be in place to ensure customer privacy and safeguard national security, while seeking views on a policy framework defining the relationship between telcos and over-the-top (OTT) players.

Earlier this year, the Indian telecom regulator has partially addressed the issue of net neutrality by banning discriminatory pricing of data services. Trai has now issued a separate consultation paper, to explore model for providing free Internet without violating its order banning discriminatory pricing of data service offered over the Internet.

The Indian GSM telecom operators have recently alleged that the regulator through the exemption to the discriminatory tariffs order has allowed a backdoor entry of differential pricing through closed electronic communication networks (CECN), which is also known as intranet.

The telcos, through industry body COAI, said that a clause that exempts products offered over CECNs, violates license conditions. They have also demanded an urgent review of the regulator’s order barring discriminatory pricing of data services.

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