Regulators

Datawind wants Govt to promote affordable internet

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NEW DELHI: Welcoming the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s consultation paper on Free Data, Datawind CEO and founder Suneet Singh Tuli said “the key barrier to getting broad internet adoption in India is breaking the affordability barrier.  This will require innovate out-of-the-box business models, and the consultation-paper is an important step towards exploring such solutions to provide free data.” 

He described it as very progressive step to address the forgotten billions, “who are our largest constituent of digital age today.”

He said the need was to have the vast majority of Indians, over a billion, who are still not on the internet. There is a need to deliver affordable internet access for the common man.

“More importantly, despite the boom in smartphone penetration, studies show over 62 percent of customers with 3G enabled devices, are not activating data plans.”

He said DataWind intends to bring the world’s most affordable internet access to India, using it’s patented technology. DataWind firmly believes that this digital and internet divide can be addressed through technology intervention, at an affordable price for this segment of customers. It is focused on driving the cost downward to a level where access to technology becomes ‘universally affordable’ and democratization of technology finds its true meaning.

He added that DataWind’s innovations have always been focussed to break the affordability barrier and provide internet access to empower the billions of people globally who are left out of the digital age. The company’s patented technology allows for a fast, rich and affordable experience on existing networks without any new infrastructure.

Free-search has made Google, free social networking has built Facebook, free messaging has built Whatsapp and free data will bring the next billion Indians online, he concluded.

Stretching the discussion on net neutrality, TRAI had issued a paper wanting to know whether there is a need to have TSP agnostic platform to provide free data or suitable reimbursement to users, without violating the principles of Differential Pricing for Data laid down in TRAI Regulation.

In the consultation paper on Free Data, TRAI has asked stakeholders to suggest the most suitable model to achieve the objective. Replies have to be filed by 16 June with counter replies if any by 30 June.

The regulator also wants to know whether such platforms need to be regulated by the TRAI or the market should be allowed to develop these platforms.

It wants to know if free data or suitable reimbursement to users should be limited to mobile data users only or could it be extended through technical means to subscribers of fixed line broadband or leased line.

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