New Delhi: The Indian telecom regulator has extended the date of submission of comments by another week, till Jan 7, for the consultation paper on “differential pricing”, official sources said on Wednesday.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) sources said all the comments should reach the regulator with Jan 7 and the regulator will come out with counter-comments by Jan 14.

The deadline for receiving comments was ending on Wednesday. Differential pricing on data services is an important aspect of net neutrality.

The TRAI on December 9 said differential pricing of data services by various operators might potentially go against the principle of non-discriminatory tariff and sought comments or opinions from stakeholders.

It said some service providers were offering differential data tariff, either free or discounted, on certain contents of particular websites, applications or platforms.

“The objective of offering such schemes is claimed to be the desire of various service/content/platform providers to enable consumers, especially the poor, to access certain content on the Internet free of charge,” the sector regulator said.

It said potentially, both positive and negative effects arise from an economic and regulatory perspective where reduced rates are tied to specific content.

“On the one hand, it appears to make overall Internet access more affordable by reducing costs of certain types of content. On the other hand, several negative effects might ensue. Differential tariffs result in classification of subscribers based on the content they want to access. This may potentially go against the principle of non-discriminatory tariff,” it added.

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