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Indian Telcos wants to suppress WhatsApp even if consumers suffer

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) apparently wants to try wringing money out of messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, Skype and WeChat on behalf of itself and mobile service providers who feel that they have the right to be compensated for revenues lost when people use such apps instead of making phone calls and sending SMS messages.

This is the same sort of logic that leads certain countries and municipalities to impose taxes on home solar panels because local coal-fired power plants are losing business.

One issue here is that service providers are banding together to try to extract more money than they already get because they sense an easy target. Another is that they’re trying to use a neutral government agency to “regulate” their own competition. More importantly, the ideal of network neutrality is now under threat, because certain services might be burdened with some sort of tax or fee just for the privilege of being able to conduct business as usual.

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