TRAI Puts Temporary Ban on Free Basics

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TRAI has kept comments for its second consultation paper open till December 30th

Facebook’s Free Basics zero-rating service receives an official set back in India. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has asked its partner in India, Reliance Communications, to stop the this service until further notice.

TRAI is still in process of formulating its policy over differential pricing for telecom companies, which is a core issue in the debate over net neutrality. As of December 20th, the regulator had received over 540,000 comments from Internet users in India on its second consultation paper on this matter. “The question has arisen whether a telecom operator should be allowed to have differential pricing for different kinds of content. Unless that question is answered, it will not be appropriate for us to continue to make that happen,” a senior Government official told TOI in context to Facebook-Reliance ‘Free Basics’ platform.

Last week iamwire had reported that Facebook is also rolling out its Free Facebook services to Airtel users in India. Telecom operator however denies any such partnership with the social media company, and says that it stands in favour of net neutrality in the company. Reliance on the other hand, which had partnered for Free Basics in November 2015, is still yet to roll back this scheme.

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