The Internet and Mobile Association of India welcomed the Indian telecom regulator’s move to ban differential pricing of data based on the type and source of content.
“This ruling vindicates the associations stand on the issue. The internet Start-up eco-system and the internet user community are delighted,” it said.
Taking a long-term view, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India rejected suggestions from telecom operators to allow them to create new Internets where only paying websites and apps will be allowed.
Doing so, the operators had argued, will allow them to make the Internet cheaper.
However, opponents of the request, including IAMAI, had said that such a move would forever damage the online business arena as starting any business on the new Internet would require tons and tons of cash to be paid to telecom operators.
“This move will ensure that the basic tenets of Net Neutrality are followed in India,” IAMAI said.
In its new net neutrality regulations, TRAI said “no service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content” and that “no service provider shall enter into any 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.”
The association had taken a ‘no exception standpoint’ against differential pricing.
IAMAI has also welcomed the move that the TRAI will be the ultimate authority to decide the cases of violations of this ruling and that the decision of the authority is final and binding.
However, the association also expressed what it called a slight concern on the exception and the exception to the exception as to how this entire thing will pan out.
The association hopes that the exceptions to the rule will not be misused by the TSPs. The exception states “…regulation shall not apply to tariffs for data services over closed electronic communications networks…”
IMPACT ON TELECOM COMPANIES
While start-ups and practically anyone who uses the Internet will benefit from the net neutrality regulations, the telecom operators of India — such as Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular — can no longer push their own versions of Internet services such as messengers, video and song clients and so on at the cost of third-party apps.