The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has published another consultation paper asking for answers, opinions and comments on issues closely linked to net neutrality in the country.
Net Neutrality was the focus of another consultation released back in March of this year, where TRAI invited comments on a regulatory framework for what they call “over-the-top services” and which most call a breach of net neutrality. Most net neutrality activists were enraged by some of the points in the initial paper and the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) called it biased in favour of telcos. This latest paper is considered an improvement.
This new paper specifically looks at what has been termed “zero rating services,” where data used to access some services are free. One notable example is Internet.Org by Facebook, which operates in conjunction with Reliance in the country. This services gives people free access to some “basic” sites such as Facebook, Wikipedia, and AccuWeather among others. TRAI has now labelled this discussion as one on the issue of “differential pricing.”
TRAI insists this consultation paper isn’t related to the previous one, but it’s hard not to draw similarities between the two. The new paper is far more compact, asking only four questions.
Question 1: Should the TSPs be allowed to have differential pricing for data usage for accessing different websites, applications or platforms?
Question 2: If differential pricing for data usage is permitted, what measures should be adopted to ensure that the principles of non-discrimination, transparency, affordable internet access, competition and market entry and innovation are addressed?
Question 3: Are there alternative methods/technologies/business models, other than differentiated tariff plans, available to achieve the objective of providing free internet access to the consumers? If yes, please suggest/describe these methods/technologies/business models. Also, describe the potential benefits and disadvantages associated with such methods/technologies/business models?
Question 4: Is there any other issue that should be considered in the present consultation on differential pricing for data services?
TRAI is inviting people to email comments on this issue to [email protected]Source: TRAI