India says yes to net neutrality, no to Facebook's Free Basics In a significant move, India's telecom regulator has banned the differential pricing for different kinds of data according to the principles of net neutrality. This implies that zero-rating initiatives like Facebook's Free Basics platform, which offers a small set of services free of cost, will not be allowed in the country.
See also: Indiaâs telecom regulator accuses Facebook of running an 'orchestrated opinion poll' for Free Basics
âGiven that a majority of the population are yet to be connected to the Internet, allowing service providers to define the nature of access would be equivalent of letting TSPs (telecom service providers) shape the usersâ Internet experience,â the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said in its release.
Its new set of regulations bars any service provider from offering or charging discriminatory tariffs on the basis of content and and imposes a fine of Rs 50,000 ($735) per day on violators.
"While formulating the regulations, the authority has largely been guided by the principles of net neutrality seeking to ensure that customers get unhindered and non-discriminatory access to the Internet," TRAI said in its statement. However, it has exempted reduced tariff plans in times of emergency.
The order concluded TRAI's consultation paper issued on Dec. 9, 2015, which invited stakeholders to send their views on the differential pricing of different content, until Jan. 14, 2016. This period saw a massive advertising campaign by Facebook to promote Free Basics, which was countered by a volunteer-led coalition called Save the Internet, that was supported by major Indian startups. Last month, TRAI also criticised Facebook's lobbying campaign as a "crudely majoritarian and orchestrated opinion poll."
Great to see TRAI backing #NetNeutrality! Let's keep the Internet free and independent.
â Kunal Bahl (@1kunalbahl) February 8, 2016
This was Facebooks Waterloo in India. It lost respect in tech community, showed its ignorance and arrogance https://t.co/JFGOr2WblS
â Vivek Wadhwa (@wadhwa) February 8, 2016
Well TRAI'ed Mark Zuckerberg. Hard Luck #NetNeutrality
â Joy (@Joydas) February 8, 2016
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