Internet Wins, India Wins, Facebook Loses – TRAI Bans All Discriminatory Data Pricing!
In a landmark decision by TRAI, every type of discriminatory data pricing has been banned in India. In fact, defaulters who wish to offer such differential pricing would be fined anywhere from Rs 50,000 to Rs. 50,00,00 per day.
In their notification, TRAI said:
(1) No service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content
(2) 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 to the consumer on the basis of content
In layman terms, this means that Facebook cannot promote or offer anti-net neutrality plans such as Free Basics; Airtel cannot offer their discriminatory service: Airtel Zero to offer some selected web services as free and telecom operators cannot sell ‘WhatsApp only’ or ‘Facebook only’ data plans to their users.
This decision by TRAI has been hailed as landmark due to several reasons:
a) It will completely prohibit Indian telecom operators to tie up with monopolistic organizations like Facebook to spread their tentacles and to enslave Internet
b) It will set a precedence across the world, where companies like Facebook is attempting to enslave and control Internet.
However, it seems (clarification needed), TRAI has allowed differential pricing for those telecom/ISPs which has produced their own content, and then wish to provide them at low cost/free to their user-base.
Hence, say Idea Cellular creates an exclusive game, which they can offer to their users for free.
Or, for example Reliance Industries own Network18, which owns TV channels such as CNBC18, CNN-IBN etc. Now, with their new Reliance Jio 4G, if Reliance wants to offer content from these news channels (owned by them) for free, they can.
But they cannot ‘aggregate’ or ‘curate’ content from various sources, and then offer them for free (or low charges) to their users.
Fair enough, to start with.
Kudos to TRAI and Indian Govt. for ensuring that the integrity and freedom of Internet remains free. And thanks to SaveTheInternet.in forum for keeping on the fight to protect Internet in India.
You can check our entire Net Neutrality coverage here.
Here is the landmark notification from TRAI.