Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has ruled in favour of Net Neutrality.
The telecom watchdog chairman, RS Sharma, on Monday issued the ‘Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016’ that barred service providers from offering or charging discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content.
Here are the highlight of what he said;
- We have come out with a regulation which are essentially mandate that no service provider shall charge differential pricing
- If a service provider is in contravention of these regulations TRAI may direct them to withdraw tariff
- In the same situation, TRAI may also order the provider to pay Rs.50k for each day of contravention upto Rs.50lakh
- We have made exemptions in case of emergencies where differential pricing could be offered in case of grave emergencies
- A service provider may reduce tariff for accessing or providing emergency services at times of grave public emergency
- The price should not be based on source, destination, type of content or the application
Facebook, which had run an unprecedented campaign to create favourable public sentiments in favour of Free Basics, said it was disappointed with the TRAI’s decision.
A statement from the social media giant said, “Facebook spokesperson said: “Our goal with Free Basics is to bring more people online with an open, non-exclusive and free platform. While disappointed with the outcome, we will continue our efforts to eliminate barriers and give the unconnected an easier path to the internet and the opportunities it brings.”
Facebook’s Free Basics was expected to offer web services on mobile phones to a selected few apps including Facebook’s own social network and messaging services, without charge.
Critics argued that allowing access to a select few apps and web services for free violated the principle of net neutrality and was bound to cause early demise for start-ups in India.