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TRAI backs Net Neutrality; prohibits differential pricing by service providers

The Authority has defined content to include all content, applications, services and any other data, including its end-point information that can be accessed or transmitted over the internet

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | February 9, 2016

traiThe Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday issued the 'Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016' which prohibits service providers from offering or charging discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content.

The document reads: “No service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content.”

The body has barred service providers from entering 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. There is a proviso though that this regulation shall not be applicable to tariffs for data services over closed electronic communications networks, unless such tariffs are offered or charged by the service provider for the purpose of evading the prohibition in this regulation.

However, there is exemption for certain content. Service providers may reduce tariff for accessing or providing emergency services, or at times of grave public emergency, provided that such tariff shall be reported to the Authority within seven working days from the date of implementation.

If a service provider is in contravention of these regulations, the Authority may order the service provider to withdraw such tariff and order it to pay a fine of Rs 50,000 each day, subject to a maximum of Rs 5 lakh. The decision of TRAI whether a service provider is in contravention of this regulation shall be final and binding.

The Authority may review these regulations after a period of two years or earlier as it may deem fit.

The Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has welcomed TRAI’s regulation on differential pricing. IAMAI had taken a ‘no exception standpoint’ against differential pricing. This ruling vindicates the associations stand on the issue. The internet Start-up eco-system and the internet user community are delighted.

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

Tags: TRAI
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