TRAI has only gotten 21 counter comments for its net neutrality paper on differential pricing, a huge drop from the 24 lakh submissions it had received earlier. The new figure isn’t entirely surprising, though, since Facebook had contributed to 80% of the entries in the previous round.
To recall, TRAI had issued out its Differential Pricing for Data Services paper last month and asked for the opinion of the public before declaring its stance. December 30 was the last date for comments and January 14 the final one for counter comments. Out of the 24 lakh missives it got, 18.94 lakh had originated from Facebook’s Save Free Basics campaign.
In its counter-arguments, telecom industry bodies Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and Association of Unified Telecom Service of India (AUSPI) said that cost differentiation will let players adapt to specific customer needs in order to allow access to segments which are poorly connected.
PTI reports the Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) has modified its earlier declaration, and now thinks a full ban on differential tariffs may impact innovation negatively. It states that the system should be permitted as long as TRAI supervises it every step of the way.
On the other hand, the Internet Democracy Project (IDP) is completely opposed to the operator’s opinions on charging different rates for internet-based calling. The entity believes that the current debate should not be mixed up with that issue. As for Facebook, the social networking giant has targeted submissions which don’t favor Free Basics.
Some comments had asserted that Facebook was extracting data from developers utilizing Free Basics to improve its own products and ads. The company has declared this allegation as false. It also argued with claims which say the technical requirements for its platform don’t apply to the brand itself.
Furthermore, Facebook had also countered views that said Free Basics was created to encourage people to switch to another operator. As of now, the service is only available to Reliance Communications customers. The website again refuted this assertion, explaining the offering was non-exclusive and open to all service providers.