Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) heartily welcomed TRAI’s ruling on net neutrality announced today. In the regulation on Differential Pricing “Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016”, published today, TRAI ruled that no service provider has the right to charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content.
The regulatory body also refrained the service providers from entering into any kind of agreement or contract with anybody that will lead to such differential pricing of data. The ruling totally ensured ‘net neutrality’ in India, which was a heated debate for long.
In a statement published during December 2015, IAMAI clearly mentioned its support to net neutrality. “Differential pricing violates principles of net neutrality,” it then said. Acknowledging the need to connect billions of unconnected Indians, IAMAI said that ‘there are other transparent and more effective ways of achieving the goals’.
“This ruling vindicates the associations stand on the issue. The internet Start-up eco-system and the internet user community are delighted,” IAMAI responded to the new ruling. “This move will ensure that the basic tenets of Net Neutrality are followed in India,” it added.
IAMAI is also happy that TRAI will be the ultimate authority to decide the cases of violations of this ruling. TRAI’s decision on the matters will be final.
However, IAMAI expressed a slight concern over the exceptions rule, which stated, “…regulation shall not apply to tariffs for data services over closed electronic communications networks…”. IAMAI hopes that the service providers will not misuse the same.
Other responses on TRAI’s net neutrality ruling
Meanwhile, Facebook expressed disappointment over TRAI’s ruling on net neutrality. “Our goal with Free Basics is to bring more people online with an open, non-exclusive and free platform. While disappointed with the outcome, we will continue our efforts to eliminate barriers and give the unconnected an easier path to the internet and the opportunities it brings,” Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. Facebook recently started running aggressive campaigns to defend its Free Basics platform.
The nationwide campaigner change.org unfolded to support net neutrality in India claimed TRAI’s ruling as a massive victory. It said, “History has been created.”
“With this notification TRAI has decided that all citizens of India will get the same view of the internet which is in line with the principle of non – discriminatory access. What remains to be done is to find innovative ways to actually get all citizens’ access to this internet as India’s ranking in universal broadband access is abysmally poor and the digital divide continues to widen,” commented Arpita Pal Agrawal, Leader – Telecom, PwC India on TRAI’s differential pricing notification.