Nasscom opposes Free Basics


Nasscom has expressed its strong discontent with the platforms and policies that goes against the spirit of net neutrality. The IT industry body has accused Airtel Zero and Facebook’s Free Basics for differentiating internet access for certain kind of services.

“We at Nasscom oppose any model where TSPs (Telecom service providers) have a say or discretion in choosing content that is made available at favorable rates or speeds etc,” Nasscom President R Chandrashekhar said today.

The body has submitted its opinions beforeTRAI nd asked it to not allow operators price different kinds of services differently such as higher (rpt) higher prices for video streaming, accessing e-commerce websites thereby segmenting the internet. This was in response to the TRAI’s invitation for public comments on the issue till January 7th.

While the debate has been stirred by Airtel with its decision to charge separately for internet based calls, a similar policy in the name of free basics is being aggressively pushed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. In fact the latter has tied up with Reliance Communications to offer internet platform to its customers. Both this moves are widely condemned by the public in the country, citing it as a move to curb the internet freedom and concentrate its power in the hands of a few big business houses.

Nasscom has highlighted additional dangers in such proposals. “It is also critical that such differential pricing should not become a tool that facilitates market dominance or enables anti-competitive behavior by either TSP or platform provider or result in direct or indirect commercial benefit including by leveraging the value of customer data that gets generated in the process,” Mr. Chandrashekhar said.