After IAMAI, industry body Nasscom has deceided to oppose differential pricing in data services in response to India’s telecom watchdog Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) consultation paper which sought comments on differential prices or zero-rated services.
Although, both Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Nasscom, didn’t mention Facebook’s Free Basics in the submission, they voiced a sheer ‘No’ to the watchdog.
“The differential pricing issue is important, because it has implications for net neutrality,” R Chandrashekhar, president of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) president was quoted as saying to ET.
“Differential pricing as a blanket enablement is out of question. It should not be done because it will completely erode net neutrality,” he added.
Nasscom member companies include technology services companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Wipro.
Earlier, the IAMAI, which comprises members such as Google, Twitter, Microsoft, LinkedIn and Facebook, had opposed differntial pricing in response to a consultation paper released by telecom watchdog Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
“In addition to being against net neutrality, the differential pricing models suggested by TRAI prima facie also violate the regulators own stated principles of intervening in pricing,” Subho Ray, president of IAMAI, had said.
“Most of the models suggested by TRAI seem to violate one or all of these principles”, Ray added.
In addition to IAMAI, founders of Zomato, Paytm, GOQii, TrulyMadly and five others had jointly sent a letter to the TRAI chairman, RS Sharma, endorsing their support for net neutrality, and calling for TRAI to issue clear regulations that prevent telecom or content providers “from acting as gate-keepers offering restricted Internet services instead of the open internet.”
The others include Metis Learning, Mouthshut.com, SVG Media, Teesort.com and FlipClass.com.
The meeting, organised by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) for its member companies, comes ahead of the December 30 deadline set by the regulator to submit comments on the consultation paper on differential pricing for data services. TRAI has given a deadline of January 7 for receiving counter comments.
However, TRAI has said it is looking to solve the issues “part-by-part” and also aiming to come up with the final guidelines based on the views received from different stakeholders, by early 2016.
“We expect to resolve some of the (issues pertaining to) the basic principles of net neutrality next year,” TRAI chairman R S Sharma told PTI in an interview.
As per the SavetheInternet forum, the net neutrality principle says that internet service providers should not block or discriminate against any applications or content that ride over those networks.
A 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, currently renamed ‘Free Basics’.