TRAI is holding an open house discussion on differential pricing at PHD Chamber of Commerce in New Delhi on Thurday. This discussion is being held after the deadline to send responses to a paper on differential pricing by TRAI has lapsed.
The telecom operators and Facebook have sent replies in favor of differential pricing with interests in providing free/subsidised but regulated internet plans (like Airtel Zero or Facebook’s Free Basics) to the customers.
Following the debate on Free Basic’s stand on net neutrality, the government asked Reliance Communications to put a hold on Free Basics (previously Internet.org). To which Facebook retaliated by asking its users to send in responses to TRAI, favoring Free Basics.
Once all the responses were in, TRAI questioned Facebook’s methods which resulted in a series of exchanges made public by TRAI earlier this week.
As the net neutrality debate in India refuses to cool down anytime soon, the time for TRAI to submit it’s suggestions to the Department of Telecom (DoT) is getting closer. DoT will then take the final call on whether or not differential pricing will be allowed.
On the bright side, Telecom Minister R S Prasad has affirmed the government’s faith in net neutrality and even discussed it with Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Jitendra Singh and Technology Minister, Harsh Vardhan.
The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is a multi-state body that promotes industry, trade and entrepreneurship. Fiery debate on Net Neutrality and Free Basics is undoubtedly expected this afternoon as TRAI holds an open house discussion on differential pricing for data services. In a notification, TRAI had said “interested stakeholders are invited to participate” in open house discussion on its consultation paper on ‘Differential Prices for Data Services’.