Trai extends deadline for comments on net neutrality

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has extended the last date for receiving comments on its paper on differential data pricing…

Telecom Regulatory Authority of  India (Trai) has extended the last date for receiving comments on its paper on differential data pricing, which is key to the debate on net neutrality,  from December 30 to January 7.

Government sources said the deadline has been extended following request to Trai by telecom industry bodies COAI and AUSPI.

Although the paper by the Trai has not used the term net neutrality, the idea of zero-rating platforms by telecom companies and other players have stirred up the big debate on the issue.

Trai has invited comments whether such plans should be allowed or not. The regulator has received about 1.65 million comments, the highest ever on any paper floated by Trai till date.

According to sources, comments received through Facebook or Free Basics platform are around 8 lakh.

The regulator has also received similar number of messages from people opposing Facebook’s Free Basics and other zero-rating programmes, and about 3,000 individual messages.

Trai’s paper mentions some plans which amount to differential tariffs of the telecom service provider who offer zero or discounted tariffs to certain contents of certain websites or applications or platforms.

“The net result of these offers is that it empowers/enables the TSPs (telecom service providers) to select certain content providers ,either through the platforms or directly, and offer discounted access plans to these websites/applications/platforms,” Trai paper said.

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