Regulators

TRAI extends time for responses to issues on availability of free data

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NEW DELHI: Given the complicated issues around net neutrality, stakeholders have now been given more time to reply to a consultation paper on Free Data which also touched on this subject.

Comments on the paper, issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on 19 May 2016, will have to be sent by 30 June 2016 with counter-comments on 14 July 2016. The earlier dates were 16 June and 30 June respectively.

Stretching the discussion on net neutrality, TRAI had 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 in TRAI Regulation.

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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