Net neutrality advocates in India
demonstrate against "VIP culture" on the web.
of Internet users worldwide,
this decision will resonate
around the world.'
In a move that open internet advocates say will "resonate around the world," India's top telecom regulator on Monday struck a decisive blow against Facebook's "discriminatory" and controlling internet scheme known as Free Basics.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) ruled against two-tiered pricing for different data platforms or content, effectively banning Free Basics, which only allows users free access to a small number of curated websites, including Facebook.
The Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016 will,
Free Basics - which has launched in 18 mostly developing countries - has faced mounting criticisms from net neutrality advocates, who said the program essentially allowed Facebook to serve as the internet "gatekeeper" for hundreds and thousands of the world's poorest people.
Open internet advocates celebrated the ruling Monday, which came after the TRAI issued a temporary ban on the service in late December in order to investigate whether it is in violation of net neutrality protections.
Mishi Choudhary, executive director of India's Software Freedom Law Center, said the group is,
According to the digital rights group, telecom companies such as T-Mobile and Verizon have been pushing similar practices in the U.S., claiming that they do not violate net neutrality.
Companies that violate the order will be fined 50,000 rupees per day (around $740/day) up to a maximum of 5 million rupees, according to the ruling, which will be reviewed in two years.
As TechCrunch notes,