The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is likely to come out with its recommendations on the long-pending controversial issue of net neutrality in a month’s time.
“All stakeholders are actively participating in this [net neutrality] debate. “I think TRAI should be able to give appropriate recommendation to the government, which they have asked for,” TRAI Chairman R.S. Sharma said after an open-house discussion on the issue. Asked about the timeline for the recommendations, Mr. Sharma said, “It should not take more than a month.”
‘Apps have it easy’
The issue has been debated since early 2015 in India. Net Neutrality is the principle that service providers should treat all data on the Internet equally, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, site, platform, or application.
Demanding that the same rule should apply for the same services, telecom operators have reasoned that operators are required to ensure service quality and pay levies to the government, while no such rules are applicable on Internet-based calling applications such as Whatsapp and Skype.
Internet-based calling applications also offer free-calling facility to users. Operators have said these services use, for free, the infrastructure created by operators.
After a series of consultation papers on related topics such as over-the-top service providers and differential pricing of data services, TRAI had, in January this year, released a consultation paper on ‘Net neutrality’.
The regulator had last year barred telecom service providers from charging differential rates for data services, effectively prohibiting Facebook’s Free Basics and Airtel Zero platform.
“This is a comprehensive paper on net neutrality and we will see whether those regulations which we have issued need to be modified or not,” Mr. Sharma said on Wednesday.
Source: The Hindu