The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has extended the deadline for submitting comments on net neutrality to January 14. TRAI head RS Sharma on Thursday said that the 14 lakh comments received in support of Facebook's Free Basics initiative do not address the real issue of differential pricing, and that the extra week is being given for more pertinent comments on the topic.
Sharma said that any decision on differential pricing and zero-rating would impact Free Basics too, though the Facebook campaign was not what their consultation paper was primarily concerned with. Facebook’s Free Basics has come under criticism for following the zero-rating model. TRAI had earlier asked telecom company Reliance Communications to put Free Basics on hold.
The zero-rating tariff model would allow telecom companies to offer free Internet data to access select websites. This would violate the law of net neutrality, according to which all content on the Internet must be treated equally.