TRAI Rules Against Differential Pricing for Internet Services

Published: 08th February 2016 04:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th February 2016 04:50 PM   |  A+A-


Motorists ride past a billboard displaying Facebook's Free Basics initiative in Mumbai, India, December 30, 2015. | REUTERS/DANISH SIDDIQUI/FILES

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday ruled against differential pricing for Internet services, in a setback to Facebook Inc's (FB.O) plan to roll out free Internet to the masses in Asia's third-largest economy.

TRAI said that Internet service providers would not be allowed to discriminate on pricing of data access for different web services.

Facebook's Free Basics plan, launched in around three dozen developing countries, offers pared-down web services on mobile phones, along with access to Facebook's own social network and messaging services, without charge.

Critics had argued that allowing access to a select few apps and web services for free violates the principle of net neutrality - the principle that all websites and data on the Internet should be treated equal.

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