The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has received a record 24 lakh comments on its consultation papers on differential pricing for data services and about 80% of the replies follow the Facebook ‘templates’.
Out of the 24 lakh comments received by the telecom regulator, about 18.94 lakh replies were in support of Free Basics, of which 13.5 lakh were through ‘@supportfreebasics.in’ or sans the senders’ e-mail Ids and about 5.44 lakh comments have come from ‘@facebookmail.com’.
About 4.84 lakh comments came from forums like ‘Save the Internet.
Comments were also received from the telecom operators, including Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Reliance Communications, and the Internet service providers, industry bodies and individuals. Of late, Facebook went on with its massive campaign in favour of its Free Basics platform. In an advertisement, it mentioned that how the platform will help spread internet connectivity throughout the country.
Last year, the net neutrality debate stirred a hornet’s nest following Bharti Airtel’s zero-rating platform. The zero-rating platform offers free browsing to consumers on select websites that have paid for it.
A DoT panel submitted an over 100-page report to the government last year on net neutrality. However, the government had said that it would come to any conclusion only after taking stock of all the reports.
The report submitted by the panel was in favour of an end to the free call regime over the internet. “The government is committed to the fundamental principles and concept of net neutrality and strives for non-discriminatory access to the internet for all citizens of the country,” Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said.