Regulators

TRAI to hold discussions on net neutrality, spectrum in Mumbai

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NEW DELHI: Given the complicated issues around net neutrality, an open house discussion is to be held in Mumbai on 26 May, 2017on Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s consultation paper on the issue NN and free data schemes. Earlier, a similar OHD was held in Hyderabad on 24 October 2016.

TRAI had issued the paper in May last year. Another OHD will be held at the same venue on the same day on a consultation paper on spectrum, roaming and QoS related requirements in machine-to-machine communications.

Stretching the discussion on net neutrality, TRAI had wanted to know whether there is a need to have telecom service provider (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 regulations.

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 lines.

The paper says that in the recent past, some data services plans of the 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.

While TRAI is still to take a stand on the issue of net neutrality as a whole, American communications regulator FCC, under a new chairman, is dismantling some of the NN regulations put in force by his predecessor under the Obama regime that has ruffled the feathers of a section of the telecoms and broadcast industry in the US.

Details of the TRAI open house in Mumbai and the related documents could be located at www.trai.gov.in.

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