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Net neutrality reaches CCI doors

MUMBAI: The popular backlash against telecom operators for violating the spirit of net neutrality has drawn the attention of the Competition Commission of India (CCI). On Tuesday, the CCI said it is looking into possible abuse of dominance by telecom and Internet companies.

Some service providers like Airtel have tied up with certain mobile apps and websites to offer free access. This has generated a fear that it will harm those who are outside this ring.

According to a PTI report, CCI member U.C. Nahta said in Kolkata that it is looking into whether entities are abusing their dominant position. The regulator is trying to understand whether such practices are just sectoral or tariff issues or whether they violate competition norms.

The CCI is looking into whether these are unfair business practices.

Net neutrality means broadband providers should provide equal treatment to all. The ‘Airtel Zero’ plan, which allows customers to access a variety of mobile applications for free as the data charges are paid by these companies, has drawn opposition. Reliance Communications has also tied up with players like Facebook, WhatsApp and Wikipedia to offer free usage to consumers.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has floated a consultation paper on this. It has requested stakeholders to comment by 24 April and to offer counter comments by 8 May.

Also read:

Things to know about net neutrality