In the last line of its latest letter to the Indian Telecom regulator TRAI, industry lobby Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), has requested the TRAI to "allow differential data tariffs on the basis of content irrespective of whether such content is provided through the closed network or open internet." In effect, the COAI is asking the TRAI to scrap its landmark regulation on the differential pricing aspect of Net Neutrality. To justify this request, the COAI has said that a part of the TRAI order which concerns allowing differential tariffs over Closed Electronic Communications Networks (CECN), or Intranet, "may lead to a subjective interpretation" and could be misappropriated. 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. This letter follows (and appears to reference) a request from Bharti Airtel earlier this month, where Airtel sought permission from the TRAI regarding offering content from a big global content provider (which we've heard is NetFlix), exclusively to Airtel customers. In February, (TRAI) had ruled that no company (or telco) can enter into any arrangement based on discriminatory pricing. However, differential tariffs are not prohibited on intranets, networks which are not accessing the internet, and disallowed if the CECN route was used to evade regulation. Clarifications sought by the COAI 1. Whether Telecom Operators can subsidise/discount content, for exclusivity and possibly advertising revenue shares, when this content will be made exclusive using the CECN route. 2. Whether…
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