As the debate on Net Neutrality issue gets heated up, a discussion paper proffered by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) stated that mobile applications providing free internet-based calls and messaging services can be a threat to individual and national security.
The paper, which was put forth in public domain on March 27, 2015, focused on imploring comments from all stakeholders for framing rules on net neutrality and on regulation of Over-the-Top service providers such as Skype, Whatsapp, Google Talk and Viber.
“Most applications can trace the user’s location for underlying processes (such as GPS apps finding the nearest restaurants). This information may be used to commit a crime, or the location itself may be the target of a crime. Such threats can impact the nation’s security and financial health,” stated the TRAI paper.
It was also added by the paper that the so-called free apps actually share mobile apps users’ personal information with various third party developers, which can pose serious threats. “Recently, Facebook manipulated information posted on 689,000 users’ home pages and found it could make people feel more positive or negative through a process of emotional contagion,” said the paper.
Telecom regulator TRAI has asserted that the new broadcast tariffs have put in place a system of transparency, non-discrimination and fairplay, while reducing the bills of the average TV watcher.
“The implementation of the new broadcast tariff regime is working out very well. The monthly bills of thousands of consumers have also been reduced. The consumer’s bill is a function of how much he watches, if he or she watches hundreds of channels obviously the bills will go up. If someone watches 25 channels, the bill will come down to one-third,” Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma told IANS in an interview here.
“The objective of the regulations is to essentially bring out a regime of transparency and allow the customers to choose channels which they want to watch, and then allow the market forces which were not in play earlier,” he said.
The market, earlier, was focused on broadcasters, distributers and operators, while theconsumer was not a participant. Now, the regulation has brought the market forces into play and removed some of the issues of transparency and non-discrimination, Sharma said.
The TRAI Chairman’s remarks come amidst complaints that the new charges are higher than those under the previous framework for an average consumer.
Sharma said that after the implementation of the new tariff regime, there is no difference between the small operator and a large operator, as they both get the channels at the same rate from the broadcasters.
“Transparency, non-discrimination and fair play are larger principles. And once the market starts playing, then, hopefully, the problem that some consumers have got higher bills also might be solved,” he noted.
According to the regulator, the basic objective of the new norms was not to reduce or increase the bills but to create a buffet of channels where everyone is charged the same.
“We introduced also a la carte model and you will pay for that and should not be asked to pay for something which you don’t watch,” Sharma said.
Asked about the shift from the old system to the new one, he said there is around 100 per cent conversion rate.
“Most of them have subscribed to the new regime or some of them have been put to a ‘best fit’ package. As the deadline of 31st March approaches, everybody will come onto the new platform,” he said.
The Chairman also said there is no change on the deadline of shifting to the new system. “The deadline stays”, he said.
Earlier in February, ratings agency CRISIL had also mentioned an increased monthly bill for most subscribers of television channels.
“Our analysis of the impact of the regulations indicates a varied impact on monthly TV bills. Based on current pricing, the monthly TV bill can go up by 25 per cent from Rs 230-240 to about Rs 300 per month for viewers who opt for the top-10 channels, but will come down for those who opt up to top five channels,” Sachin Gupta, senior director, ratings at CRISIL had said.
CRISIL’s analysis assumes a scenario where subscribers opt for the top-10 channels by viewership in addition to the free-to-air (FTA) ones.
Sharma had countered the CRISIL report saying it was prepared with an “inadequate understanding” of the TV distribution market and it was incorrect.
A consumer association expert said TRAI’s formula to bring down cost for consumers is based on low usage.
In its frequently asked questions (FAQ) page, TRAI says, “80 per cent subscribers, as per the viewing pattern given by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), either view or flip 40 or less number of channels. (IANS)
Reliance Jio led the subscription race in November 2018 adding around 88.01 lakh subscribers across the country, the highest among all the telecom service providers.
Data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Friday evening showed that the subscriber base of Reliance Jio by November 30 was around 27.16 crore.
The total number of mobile phone subscribers in the country by the end of November was 117.18 crore, with a net addition of 17.39 lakh customers during the month, as per the data.
“Total wireless subscribers (GSM, CDMA and LTE) increased from 1,170.02 million at the end of October 2018 to 1,171.76 million at the end of November 2018, thereby registering a monthly growth rate of 0.15 per cent,” TRAI said in its statement.
“As on November 30, 2018, the private access service providers held 89.99 per cent market share of the wireless subscribers whereas BSNL and MTNL, the two PSU access service providers, had a market share of only 10.01 per cent.”
The state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) added around 3.78 lakh subscribers in November, taking its total tally to 11.38 crore, it said.
Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday said he will “get the entire facts” about social networking site Facebook reportedly demanding new users’ Aadhaar and revert to Parliament.
“I have also seen the news (about Facebook) in media. They have also given a reply that it was not mandatory. But I will get the entire facts on record before I revert to you,” Prasad told the Rajya Sabha in response to a supplementary question on cybersecurity and data protection.
The Minister also said that the government is going to bring very soon a data protection law.
It was reported a few days back that new users trying to sign up for Facebook were asked to enter their name “as per Aadhaar” records.
However, Facebook has already clarified that it was “not collecting” the Aadhaar data and was just running a “small test” to weed out fake accounts.
“There have been a number of reports about a small test we ran in India to help new users sign up for Facebook. Some have interpreted this test as a request for people’s Aadhaar information when you sign up for a Facebook account. This is not correct,” Facebook said in a blog post on Wednesday.
“The test, which has now finished, merely includes additional language on the account sign-up page to explain that using their Aadhaar name will help family and friends recognise them.
“We are not collecting Aadhaar data and do not require people to enter their Aadhaar name when they sign up to Facebook,” it added.
Earlier, Prasad said that the government has no plans to make internet availability a fundamental right but the government is “committed to providing internet connectivity to its citizens”.
“As per a report from TRAI, as on June 2017, India has over 431.21 million internet users and with several million new internet users joining every month.
“This has resulted in more and more Indians coming online and using the internet, giving them the freedom to experience and use the internet in every aspect of their lives,” Prasad said in the reply.
“Our ‘Digital India’ programme envisions transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
“The pillars of Digital India programme namely Broadband Highways, Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity and Public Internet Access Programme address the issue of Internet availability in the country,” he added. IANS