Rajeev Chandrasekhar backs net neutrality; urges for TSP agnostic platforms

Rajeev Chandrasekhar

In response to TRAI’s consultation on free data, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha and Technology Entrepreneur and consumer rights activists re-iterated the need for net neutrality and said there is a need to have TSP agnostic platforms that seek to reimburse users with data.

The activists  argued that  the ability of websites/apps to use TSP agnostic platforms for promotions, rebates, price-offs, reimbursing/discounting access to or services on their site is perfectly acceptable on the Internet. However, to ensure net neutrality, these platforms should be permitted to enter into commercial agreements with only websites that are being promoted and/or consumers, and are expressly prohibited from doing so directly with Telcos/TSPs.

With the growth of large Internet companies (Non TSPs), legitimate consumer interest challenges like free and fair competition, market power and other distortions are bound to arise, and these will need regulatory intervention and that it is up to the TRAI to evolve an effective, capable and transparent form of regulation, either jointly with other domain expert regulators like CCI or on its own, the MP said. But given the genuine limitations to TRAI’s powers it would require them to explore joint regulation.

Chandrasekhar also urged TRAI should define net neutrality on a priority basis and this definition must focus on preventing gatekeeping/cabelization by Telcos.  Chandrasekhar is also of the opinion that 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, he said.

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