Sectoral regulator Trai will conduct an open house discussion on differential pricing for data services, a key aspect of net neutrality, on January 21.
In a notification, Trai said “interested stakeholders are invited to participate” in open house discussion on its consultation paper on ‘Differential Prices for Data Services’.
The event will be held at PHD House in New Delhi. Telecom operators have favoured differential pricing for data services while net neutrality activists continue to oppose any differential pricing regime, saying it would amount to curbs on freedom of choice to access Internet.
Social networking giant Facebook has also launched a massive campaign to project its Free Basics platform as a tool to spread web connectivity.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has received a record 24 lakh comments on the paper. An analysis of the comments, shows 18.94 lakh replies are in support of Free Basics, of which 13.5 lakh views are through ‘@supportfreebasics.in’ and without the senders’ individual e-mail IDs while further 5.44 lakh comments have come from ‘@facebookmail.com’.
On the other hand, the net neutrality campaigners have submitted 4.84 lakh comments through forums like ‘Save the Internet’.
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. The debate heated up after Airtel launched free Internet platform Airtel Zero and later Facebook also launched its Internet.Org platform, renamed as Free Basics.