Aditya MadanapalleJun 09, 2016 12:28:41 IST
TRAI banned differential pricing or zero rated schemes in February this year, in a strong ruling that followed the principles of net neutrality. Cellular Operators Association of India which represents a number of major telecom service providers in the country wrote to TRAI seeking clarification on what TRAI calls Closed Electronic Communications Network (CECN). Differential pricing is allowed on CECNs, but the problem is that no one is entirely sure exactly what a CECN is, which seems to be a newly coined term for some kind of Intranet.
Telecom service providers are hesitant to invest in new technologies, with unclear regulations hanging over their heads. TRAI is hesitant to give a clarification, as it does not want to give a further clarification on the clarification. As of now, telecom service providers and TRAI are at an impasse. Telecom operators want the differential pricing regulation to be done away with.
TRAI issued a pre-consultation paper, exploring the option of platforms or mechanisms that can give free data to users, while still following the regulation of differential pricing not being allowed. The mechanism that TRAI envisions will allow for unconnected or underconnected users to experience the internet, while still following the principles of net neutrality. This is seen as a measure to prevent telecom service providers to come up with creative work arounds for the differential pricing ruling, which the telecom service providers are against.
Savetheinternet.in is back with a hacktivism campaign, that gives a template response to the pre-consultation paper. Users can share the ability to respond on social networking and instant messaging sites. The stand by Savetheinternet.in is that it fears the CECN provision may be exploited by telecom service providers, even though telecom service providers are hesitant to take any steps due to the unclear regulations. A service provider agnostic platform to deliver free internet for some sites, applications and services can also act as a gatekeeper, and net neutrality can be compromised. The response with gaining data use by watching advertisements, as long as this data can be used on any site, service or app.
The reply does not feel freemium subscriptions, where a certain amount of data is initially given for free is against the principles of net neutrality. Another allowance for telecom operators is offering a slow data rate for free, and charging for higher data rates. All of these solutions do allow for a larger number of users to experience the internet for free. The templated response has a very strong stance against differential pricing in any form. This is similar to the massive email campaign in support of net neutrality, the first time the debate was opened. Those interested in responding to TRAI over the new pre consultation paper have an quick and easy response handy. TRAI has however requested consumers not to use a template for responses.
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