TRAI Received Only 21 Counter-Comments On Net Neutrality
Last year, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) raised the issue of net neutrality and, needless to say, it sparked off a major debate. This eventually led TRAI to invite public comments on the differential pricing of net services and the last date to submit counter-comments was 14th January.
Of the total 24 million applications submitted over TRAI’s paper on the differential pricing of data, a significant aspect of net neutrality, there were only 21 counter-comments submitted by individuals or organisations.
List of telecom operators that countered the proposal of keeping net services neutral of discriminatory pricing include Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications, through industry bodies, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and Association of Unified Telecom Service of India (AUSPI). COAI and AUSPI said in their joint counter-comment,
“Price differentiation will allow TSPs to cater to specific consumer requirements, including facilitation of access to those segments that are currently unconnected or poorly connected. Price differentiation is a widely adopted business practice used in many industries.”
While talking about the net-neutrality debate in India, how can we not talk about Facebook and its Free Basics? While openly opposing differential pricing of internet services, Facebook continued to defend Free Basics and claimed one more time that it’s not a threat to net neutrality.The company defended itself in an official statement,
“This is not true and evidence refutes it. In addition, this need not be a material concern since the programme is open to all operators on the same terms in a non-exclusive manner.”
While the future of net neutrality still seems uncertain, we can only hope to wait and watch the events unfold. In the meantime, find more information here Facebook’s Free Basics.