In an order, ‘Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulation’, TRAI said, “no service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content.”
In a significant win for Net Neutrality, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has ruled against differential pricing of data services based on content, a big blow to initiatives like Facebook’s free basics and Airtel Zero.
The regulatory body released a statement stating that “no service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content.” This verdict will also include any subsidized data packages which offer selective services like a WhatsApp package or a Twitter package.
However, the regulation is not applicable to tariffs for data services over closed communication networks, unless tariffs offered shirk prohibition of this regulation. The only exemption to the ruling is reduced tariffs is “for accessing emergency services or at times of public emergency.” TRAI stupulates that tariff should be reported to the board within seven working days in such cases.
Service providers have six months to comply with the new rules, violating which will attract a penalty of Rs 50,000 per day, capped at Rs 50 lakh.