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TRAI’s recommendation of Free Data aggregators creates a carriage fee model for the Internet

The Indian telecom regulator TRAI appears to have given the go-ahead to apps like Gigato, which allows its partner websites to refund users for data consumed on their apps, by giving mobile recharge credit. The recommendations (which means it is up to the Department of Telecom to accept, modify or reject them) also mention government subsidisation of data for rural India. The recommendations: A. Government subsidisation of Internet Access 1. 100 MB of data will be given to " all users who are located in rural and remote areas, as notified by the Government". "After the expiry of 100 MB of data in a month on a mobile connection, the free data services will be suspended till the beginning of the following month." 2. The scheme should be implemented for a definitive period with a clearly defined time limit for each subscriber: free benefit for a fixed number of months for each subscriber. 3. The scheme is expected to cost Rs 10 per subscriber per month. "a cost of approximately Rs. 600 Crore to provide 100 MB of free data to 50 million users for a period of one year." B. Third Party Aggregators are being allowed to reimburse data 1. Third Party aggregators, which will have to register with the DoT, are allowed to provide Free Data to users. These will have to be an Indian company, and the registration will be valid for 5 years. 2. An aggregator may buy data packs in bulk with the intention of distributing…

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Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

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