Net Neutrality wins! TRAI against differential pricing, to charge penalty of Rs 50,000/day for breach of rules

In a big blow to Free Basics and Airtel Zero platforms, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today announced that no service provider will be allowed to offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content. In what could be a major win for net neutrality in the country, the telecom regulator said that a penalty of Rs 50,000 a day, capped at Rs 50 lakh, will be levied on service providers breaching the rule.

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It maintained that the regulation will not be applicable for data services over closed communication networks, unless tariffs offered evade prohibition of this regulation.

“Only exemption – tariffs may be reduced for accessing emergency services or at times of public emergency,” TRAI said.

It further said that no telecom service provider should enter into any agreement that has effect of discriminatory tariffs for data services being offered on basis of content, which will disallow subsidised data packages that offer access to only select services, such as Whatsapp or Twitter, packages.

TRAI also gave service providers six months to comply with the new rules. It had previously asked Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Communications, which is Facebook’s only distributor of Free Basics in India, to stop the offer on a commercial basis.

Last year, country’s top telco Bharti Airtel dealt a severe blow after it launched its zero-rated product Airtel Zero. Following the backlash, it was forced to put the product on the backburner. Critics say that the initiatives by Facebook and Airtel were aimed at creating two types of Internet free and paid and these go against the principle of net neutrality.

TRAI came to the conclusion after issuing two consultation papers on differential pricing.

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42 Comments on "Net Neutrality wins! TRAI against differential pricing, to charge penalty of Rs 50,000/day for breach of rules"

 

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zeshan
February 9, 2016 6:11 pm 6:11 PM

for the 1st time i believe the purpose of formation of trai was fulfilled.
TELECOM REGULATORY AUTHORITY of india.

Sukumar
February 9, 2016 11:29 am 11:29 AM

There is one exception.
“The regulation will not be applicable for data
services over closed communication networks, unless tariffs offered
evade prohibition of this regulation.”

This could mean that carrier hosted music and video content WyncMusic/Jio Beats/Jio Play could be given free/discounted while, things like Youtube and netflix needs to be neutral.

zeshan
February 9, 2016 6:12 pm 6:12 PM

what does “closed communication networks” mean ?

Sudhakar
February 9, 2016 10:50 am 10:50 AM

Tamilnadu Idea has increased the 3G data price. Now, just 950 MB for Rs.249 with 28 days validity !!!.

tamilselvan
February 9, 2016 6:41 pm 6:41 PM

No worry..idea is dummy betwork in tamilnadu

Babu.s
February 13, 2016 12:58 am 12:58 AM

Tamilselvan, your opinion not whole people opinion.. Idea is the best network in Tamilnadu..
Example, come Pondicherry. Ask to people.. They told you..

Sunny Chennai
February 9, 2016 9:05 pm 9:05 PM

Agree with You. Idea has stopped giving offers. Pathetic thing is none of their STV’s mentioned in their website will work. When checked with the CC they say the STV’s Price are same and the benefits will differ from consumer to consumer. I evven took up this matter with appellate authority but those idiots also said the same thing.

When there are no standard STV’s then why it should be on the website.????

Kiran Fernandes
February 9, 2016 12:46 pm 12:46 PM

Yeah they bumped it to 265 for 1GB.

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