New Delhi/Nagpur: In a significant development, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday said that tariff for data services cannot vary on the basis of the website/ application/ platform/ or type of content being accessed.
For example, a consumer cannot be charged differently based on whether he/ she is browsing social media site A or B, or on whether she is watching streaming videos or shopping on the Internet.
TRAI will levy Rs. 50,000 a day penalty for discriminatory tariffs charged by service providers.
However, the regulator also said, “Differential tariffs being offered for data transmitted over closed electronic communications networks, such as intranets are not prohibited by these regulations.”
Releasing the paper — Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016 — TRAI said that keeping in view India’s large number of Internet users and content producers, both of which are rising, the Authority has taken a view that prohibition of discriminatory tariff for data services is necessary to ensure that service providers (TSPs) continue to fulfill their obligations in keeping the internet open and non-discriminatory.
TSPs are also prohibited from entering into arrangements that have the same effect as charging discriminatory tariffs on the basis of content.
“Everything on Internet is price agnostic and nobody can beat that. This regulation comes into effect from today,” R S. Sharma, Chairman, TRAI, said.