New Delhi: Telecom regulator Trai on Monday recommended that free data access of 100 MB per month should be provided to rural subscribers and the scheme could be funded from the Universal Service Obligation Fund.
"In order to bridge the affordability gap for the persons residing in rural areas and to support government's efforts towards cashless economy by incentivising digital means, the Authority recommends that a scheme under which a reasonable amount of data say 100 MB per month may be made available to rural subscribers for free," Trai said.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has suggested that the cost of implementation of the scheme may be met from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
Under USOF, the government charges a cess, Universal Access Levy, from telecom licencees to fund setting up of telecom infrastructure in all uncovered rural and remote areas of the country.
Trai recommended that to increase participation of other entities for incentivising free data, there is a need to introduce third party (Aggregator) to facilitate schemes which are telecom operator agnostic and non-discriminatory in their implementation.
It has recommended that scheme for free data must be telecom operator agnostic and must not involve any arrangement between the TSP (telecom service provider) and the aggregator/content provider.
It should not be designed to circumvent its regulation on free mobile internet services as mentioned under 'The Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations'.
With PTI Inputs