Airtel has written to the Indian telecom regulator TRAI, asking for a clarification on whether it can launch a video content service from a "Big Global Content Provider" on its platform, exclusive to Airtel customers. A copy of the letter, which MediaNama has obtained from sources, is below. Airtel has declined to comment on the letter, and also declined to comment on which content provider has approached it for a partnership. Airtel is checking about providing this service over its "Closed Electronic Communications Network" (CECN). A CECN is an intranet, and a walled garden, where a company is providing the service only to its own customers, and isn't the Internet. MediaNama's Take 1. Airtel shouldn't be allowed to provide this service: As per the TRAI regulation (download), the prohibition on discriminatory tariffs (such as Zero Rating; a Net Neutrality violation) will apply "if such a closed network is used for the purpose of evading these regulations". That to us suggests that if, (for example) an online service such as NetFlix is being provided to Airtel customers on an intranet connection which is being zero rated, the choice of providing this over an intranet is merely in order to evade the TRAI regulations on Differential Pricing. The regulations are meaningless if an online entity that wants to be zero rated can tie up with each telecom operator and offer its services to customers of each telecom operator. This is collusive, and the collusion between content providers and telecom operators is one…
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