Welcoming the TRAI decision on differential pricing, BJP today said it is a clear expression of popular will and attacked Congress for its “deplorable attempt to mislead” people for “petty politics” over net neutrality.
BJP also claimed that the decision is in line with vision of open and fair Internet and support to net neutrality and said it will give a strong impetus to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of a Digital India.
“BJP wholeheartedly welcomes the TRAI decision on differential pricing. The decision is a clear expression of popular will,” Telecom Minister and senior party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a statement.
Attacking the Congress, he said, “The Congress party tried its best to create an atmosphere of distrust and fear while the process was going on and in the process made a deplorable attempt to mislead the people for the sake of petty politics. Today they stand completely exposed.”
Prasad claimed that the decision was taken after extensive consultations among various stakeholders.
“The government made sure proper processes were followed at all levels which eventually led to the victory of an open and equal Internet...
“It is gladdening to see that the NDA government ensured unparalleled transparency in the entire issue of net neutrality,” he said.
A debate on Net neutrality stirred across the country after Airtel decided to charge separately for Internet-based calls in December 2014 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.
Ruling against discriminatory pricing for different data platforms or content, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said operators cannot enter into pacts with Internet companies to subsidise access to some websites.
Companies violating the rules will be fined Rs 50,000 per day for the duration of contravention, subject to a maximum of Rs 50 lakh.
“No service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content,” TRAI said in its regulations for ‘Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services’.
It gave six months to operators to wind down existing differential pricing services.