Net Neutrality Wins: TRAI finally issued Regulations

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India- TRAI has ruled in favour of Net Neutrality, by saying that on the basis of contents, no service providers shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services.

The ‘Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016’ was issued on this Monday, i.e. on 8th day of February, 2016, by TRAI. And this Regulations of 2016 are issued for barring the service providers from offering or charging the discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content.

As per the said issued Regulations of 2016, the Authority has maintained that there should not be entered into any arrangement, contract or agreement by the Service Provider with any person who may be natural or artificial person for evading the prohibition in this regulation, for data services being offered or charged by the service provider. Also, these Regulations is also permitting the reduced tariff for accessing or providing emergency services. Even such reduction is also permitted for at the time of public emergency. Also these regulations are specifying the financial disincentives for contravention of such regulation.

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Moreover, the Authority is empowered under these Regulations to impose penalty of 50K rupees a day for discriminatory tariffs charged by service providers. Thus, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India which had earlier issued two consultation papers in the past months about Net Neutrality, has now finally, issued the aforementioned Regulations in favour of Net Neutrality. Moreover, the TRAI has also made provisions in the said Regulations to review the same after a period of Two years.

However, the as per the Internet Activists, the model is violating the Principle of Net Neutrality. And the same was said to maintain that the same model is restricting the access to the free and open Internet. Also, similarly, the Free Basic initiative of Facebook as it is based on a zero- rating model has also come under the server criticism in India. Also the services offered on Free Basic by the Reliance Communication and Facebook’s partner in India, are also told by TRAI to put the services on hold till it considers all the details and terms and conditions of the service.

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Adv. Faim Khalilkhan Pathan