Telecom regulator Trai is extending by a week, to January 7, the last
date for receiving comments on its paper on differential data pricing -
a key aspect of the raging debate on net neutrality.
"It is being extended to January 7, primarily due to extension requests of COAI and AUSPI," an official source told PTI.
deadline for comment on the paper was ending on Wednesday. Although the
paper by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India does not mention or
use the term net neutrality, it details the idea of zero-rating
platforms that have stirred up the big debate across the country on the
Trai has received about 16.5 lakh comments - highest ever on any paper floated by it till date, the official said.
per sources, comments received through Facebook or Free Basics platform
are around 8 lakh. The regulator has also received similar number of
messages from people opposing Facebook's Free Basics and other
zero-rating programmes, and about 3,000 individual messages.
per SavetheInternet forum, the net neutrality principle says that
internet service providers should not block or discriminate against any
applications or content that rides over their networks.
has launched campaign where it is asking users to support Free Basics
scheme under which the user can access some websites for free without
paying internet charges. The regulator had received over 10 lakh
comments on first consultation that it floated around net neutrality.
debate on net neutrality stirred across the country after Airtel
decided to charge separately for internet-based calls but withdrew it
later after people protested.
Internet activists and experts flayed the operator for 'Airtel Zero' service along with Facebook's Internet.org service.
paper mentions some plans which amount to differential tariffs of the
telecom service provider who offer zero or discounted tariffs to certain
contents of certain websites or applications or platforms.
net result of these offers is that it empowers/ enables the TSPs
(telecom service providers) to select certain content providers ,either
through the platforms or directly, and offer discounted access plans to
these websites/applications/platforms," Trai paper said.
The regulator has invited comments whether such plans should be allowed or not.