RCom Defying TRAI? Free Basics Still Available Despite TRAI Ban!
Telecom Regulatory of India (TRAI) is now aware about the outrage and agitation against Free Basics service by Facebook in India. In new developments, it was revealed that they don’t want to take any risk before announcing the results of the consultation paper regarding Net neutrality in India.
As per a report on Times of India, TRAI has already asked Reliance Communication to stop offering Free Basics by Facebook as a service to end-users. Reliance Communication is the only telecom partner which has teamed up with Facebook to offer Free Basics service in India.
As per an official, “We have asked them (Reliance Communications) to stop it and they have given us a compliance report that it has been stopped,”
It is clearly evident that TRAI is sensing a huge debacle and controversy in case Free Basics is allowed to operate in India, considering that it clearly violates the basic principles of Net Neutrality by providing discriminatory access to few websites/services. The emails sent to TRAI and the social media uproar over Facebook’s deceptive campaigning to garner support has reached its audience.
That official said, “The question has arisen whether a telecom operator should be allowed to have differential pricing for different kinds of content. Unless that question is answered, it will not be appropriate for us to continue to make that happen,”
Why Reliance Communication Is Defying TRAI?
Despite providing TRAI with a confirmation to compile with their order, Reliance Communication hasn’t yet blocked Free Basics as it is still available to users.
Both Reliance and Facebook are silent on this issue, as TRAI’s guidelines are openly violated.
In the past, talks were on to place Net Neutrality as a condition in approving license of telecom players. In case such rules were made, then TRAI could have been able to place heavy penalty on Reliance for defying TRAI’s orders.
Support for Net Neutrality
Last year, TRAI had supported Net Neutrality, when they said, “From the looks of it, Airtel Zero and many other plans including Facebook’s Internet.org tie-up with Reliance Communications and the free WhatsApp, Facebook offers by other telcos seem to violate net neutrality. You will need the force of law to draw lines on what is permissible and what is not. Together, the regulator and the government will have to make it clear”
TRAI is now waiting for the results of the consultation paper, whose deadline is December 30th.
Besides TRAI, influential lobby of Internet and Mobile companies, IAMAI, has also condemned Free Basics and have supported Net Neutrality in India.
DoT (Department of Telecom) panel has already stressed on the need to ensure that basic principles of Net Neutrality are followed by telecom companies, clearly indicating that Reliance Communication, Facebook Free Basics and Airtel Zero are going against it.
Even state-run telecom firm MTNL says that Free Basics is against Net Neutrality.
Don’t Delay – Send Email To TRAI Now!
As the deadline of December 30 is fast approaching, Facebook has intensified it’s lobbying tactics to garner support for their Free Basics plan.
Not only they initiated a shrewd email campaign which deceived thousands of unsuspecting users into giving them support, they also launched an ‘accidental’ campaign in USA and Canada to get support for Free Basics in India; a move which we termed as ‘desperate measure’.
TRAI has already received 6 lakh emails supporting Free Basics after Facebook’s latest campaigns; and advocators of Neutral Internet need your support now.