Trai gets 24 lakh comments on net neutrality issue

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has received close to 24 lakh comments on its paper on differential data pricing - a key element that forms the core of the raging debate on net neutrality.

Thursday was the last day to send in the views. This is a record number of comments the regulator has received so far.

"We have received about 24 lakh comments on the paper," a Trai official told PTI.

The official added that around 18 lakh out of the whole lot relate to Facebook's Free Basics.

Facing flak for its controversy-ridden internet platform Free Basics, the social networking giant has launched an email campaign to garner support to its plea that Trai's net neutrality rules should not "end up depriving people of the opportunity to come online".

It has also been running full-page advertisements in multiple dailies as part of its 'Free Basics' campaign.

As per SavetheInternet forum, the net neutrality principle says internet service providers should not block or discriminate against any applications or content riding on their network.

Trai is consulting the public to firm up its recommendations over services that lead to differential pricing of data or the Internet.

Free Basics allows access to content or application hosted on it for free in partnership with the telecom operator.

The platform has been opposed by net neutrality volunteers as also industry bodies Nasscom and IAMAI, who claim that it locks the user to limited content offered for free at the discretion of Facebook.

Although the paper does not mention or use the term net neutrality, it details the idea of zero-rating platforms that have stirred up the big debate across the country on the issue.