Apps And Websites Should Be Free To Decide On Free Data: Nasscom

Apps, Websites Should Be Free To Decide On Free Data: Nasscom

New Delhi, Jul 2 IT industry body Nasscom has believed telecom regulator Trai should give complete flexibility to websites and apps for determining on provisions for rewarding free data to customers.

In its response to consultation paper of Trai on free data for telecom customers, the body also assumed operators should not have the direct or indirect effect on the content that customers view on the Internet. It said the purpose of free data or concerns on data usage as the reward is to inspire users to explore the Internet.

“When the reward is given by the platform and not by the individual website, it should not have any conditions attached that translate into discrimination between websites and apps or have any conditions as to which websites and apps may be accessed, either implicitly or explicitly, including stipulations regarding technology or content,” Nasscom said.

The body also said there should be no conditions on how the data reward can be used by the customer, like controlling its use to specific websites. Nasscom in its suggestions appealed net-neutrality to keep interference of telecom operators out of free data reward decision of websites or applications.

“Net Neutrality is a universal concept (recently upheld by the US courts as well as other nations in the past) where TSPs (telecom service providers), as access providers, have no power to influence consumer choice relating to services, applications, content that a consumer accesses. Therefore, TSPs should not have any direct or indirect influence on the content that customers view on the Internet,” Nasscom said.

The application will also send data speed, coverage, and network information along with device and location of the customer, the statement added. 

TRAI has defined the least possible Internet speed that should be supplied to customers. On the other hand, consumers often complain of poor speed. The regulator, during its drive test, has also initiated that 3G customers of some operators were getting 2G Internet speed most of the time in select cities.

The portal and the application will be officially launched by the regulator on 5 July, the statement added. Now presented on Android smartphones, the app takes up 23MB after it is installed on the phone. The app is also accomplished of logging and reporting connectivity issues, irrespective of the broadband or mobile service provider, directly to the regulator.

Trai's move comes after the regulator received a lot of complaints of inconsistency between the speeds that the operators claim and charge for and the actual speeds that users get in real world usage.This is the first app under the Digital India enterprise, which is directly trying to grab the issue of poor data speeds.
The industry has also asked jurisdiction of Trai in case it needs to frame rules on free data without involving telecom operators. Many stakeholders have asked Trai to define net neutrality before enclosing rules for free data.

Member of Parliament Rajeev Chandrasekhar in his comments said: “TRAI must define Net Neutrality urgently and this definition must focus on preventing gatekeeping/civilization by telcos. Free data must not be regulated through an ex-ante ban but on a case-by-case basis. Regulation must not dampen competition or innovation on the web.”

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