Centre for Internet & Society

The Centre of Internet and Society (CIS) in association with Observer Research Foundation, and IT For Change in collaboration with the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce a roundtable on ‘Network Neutrality Regulation Across South Asia: Aspects of Differential Pricing” that will take place on January 22, 2016 from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. at TERI in Bangalore.

Download the Invite

The objective of this roundtable will be to look into the issue of differential pricing in light of TRAI’s recent consultation process, with the specific intention of research building. The network neutrality debate has gained significant momentum in India during the past year, with competing interests of internet service providers, OTTs and the public giving rise to important questions of ICT regulation and policy.

With Facebook looking to expand its zero rated walled garden, Free Basics, into nascent markets, differential pricing is an important point of regulatory policy not just in India, but in jurisdictions across South Asia. These countries have limited connectivity, large consumer potential and low internet penetration which bring to the fore questions of access, diversity, competition and innovation. To this end, the roundtable will seek to address the regulatory and market aspects of differential pricing as well as the impact on rights. Broadly, the roundtable will be forward looking and seek to build future research agendas.

Draft Agenda

11:00 – 11:30 Tea and Registration
11:30 – 12:30 Roundtable 1: Framing the issue:
  • The practice of differential pricing
  • Examples of differential pricing
  • Stakeholder perspectives
  • Competition and market effect of differential pricing
  • Larger social consequences of differential pricing
12:30 – 1:00 Lunch
1:00 – 2:30

Roundtable 2: Regulatory response:

  • Discerning governmental actions
  • Locating public interest
  • Moving from research to action
2:30 – 3:00 Tea
3:00 – 4:30

Roundtable 3: Impact on rights:

  • Access
  • Freedom of expression
  • Privacy
  • Equity and Social Justice
4:30 – 5:00 Discussion and research agenda building

Roundtable Questions:

Roundtable 1: FRAMING THE ISSUE:

  • What is differential pricing and how does it work? What are the technical components and policy components of differential pricing? What are examples of differential pricing?
  • What has been the response from different stakeholders to differential pricing schemes? What are the arguments for/against differential pricing?
  • What could be the market effect of differential pricing?
  • What are possible larger social impacts of differential pricing?


  • How have governments responded to differential pricing? What can these responses tell us about the position of governments?
  • What are the different components for consideration with developing a regulatory response? What are different forms of regulation for differential pricing?
  • What type of policy research around differential pricing can drive meaningful action?

Roundtable 3: IMPACT ON RIGHTS:

  • How does differential pricing impact the right to access, freedom of expression, privacy, and equity and social justice?
  • Are there ways to mitigate this impact through regulation? Market incentives? Company policy?
  • What are forms of redress that individuals could seek in the context of differential pricing?