Regulators

Free data, net neutrality: Discussion on TRAI paper to be held

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NEW DELHI: Given the complicated issues around net neutrality, an open house discussion is to be held in Hyderabad this month on Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s consultation paper on free data. The OHD will be held at Hotel Trident in the Telangana capital on 24 October 2016.

On 14 June, TRAI had given more time to stakeholders to send in their comments and counter comments to the paper issued on 19 May 2016 with final replies to come in by mid-July.

Stretching the discussion on net neutrality, TRAI wants 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 by TRAI.

It also 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.

The paper says that in the recent past, some data services plans of the Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) came to the notice of TRAI which amounted to discriminatory tariff through offering zero or discounted tariffs to certain contents of certain websites/applications/platforms. The objective of offering such plans was claimed to be the desire of various service providers/content providers or platform providers to enable people of this country, especially the poor, to access certain content on the internet free of charge.

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