In a major blow to Facebook’s highly controversial Free Basics platform and Airtel’s zero rated platform Airtel Zero the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ruled against the differential pricing for data services on the basis of content.
However, it noted that a service provider may reduce tariff for accessing or providing emergency services, or at times of grave public emergency. But this comes with the condition that such tariff “shall be reported to the Authority within seven working days from the date of implementation of the reduced tariff and the decision of the Authority as to whether such reduced tariff qualifies under this regulation shall be final and binding.”
TRAI further announced that anyone flouting the rules will be charged Rs. 50,000 for each day of contravention, subject to a maximum of rupees 50 lakh.
TRAI may review these regulations after the expiry of a period of two years from the date on which these regulations come into effect, or on any earlier date as it may deem fit.