TRAI has announced that there will not be any differential tariffs or pricing by any service provider on basis of content. This makes it a big win for net neutrality, with TRAI mentioning “no company to offer/charge discriminatory tariffs for data on basis of content”. The Regulations will come into effect immediately: TRAI Chairman RS Sharma on TRAI supporting net neutrality.
Apart from the millions of voices which were opposing the differential pricings, which includes different (additional) prices for specific apps, websites etc, Telecos and others like Facebook have written to TRAI explaining the need for differential pricing for promoting innovation and growth of data services. As unfair as these statements are from the telecoms, there was tremendous opposition from all over the country receiving close to 24 lakh responses for the consultation paper floated by TRAI seeking views.
According to TRAI no service provider shall enter into any arrangement, agreement or contract, by whatever name called, with any person, natural or legal, that has the effect of discriminatory tariffs for data services being offered or charged by the service provider for the purpose of evading the prohibition in this regulation.
Reduced tariff for accessing or providing emergency services, or at times of public emergency has been permitted. All these said the campaign held by Facebook to get Free Basics accepted by the public spending a whopping Rs. 300 crores has also backfired and has been termed unethical. Restoring faith in ethical practice TRAI is also imposing a Rs. 50,000 a day penalty for discriminatory tariffs charged by service providers.
Here is the complete Press Release by TRAI – Press Release No 13