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TRAI Recommends Providing 100 MB Free Data Every Month to Rural Users

Representative Image.

Representative Image.

The regulator has suggested that the cost of implementation of the scheme may be met from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)-- which is meant to promote telecom services in rural areas.

Earlier this year, regulatory body TRAI had floated a consultation to know if there can be a model to provide free access to the Internet to those who do not have it, without violating the existing regulation on discriminatory pricing.

Keeping this in mind, TRAI has now recommended providing 100MB free data every month for rural Internet users. This is only a recommendation and it remains to be seen as to how the Department of Telecommunications will respond to this.

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TRAI recommends doing so through a third-party aggregator model which must not violate TRAI's earlier regulation on discriminatory pricing.

These aggregators must register with the Department of Telecommunications and must be registered under the Indian companies Act of 1956.

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There is little clarity on how this aggregator model will work.TRAI recommends using the India's Universal Service Obligation Fund for this scheme.

In Feb 2016, TRAI had said no to discriminatory pricing regulation which was a setback to Facebook's Free Basics programme.

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first published:December 19, 2016, 23:40 IST