Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had called a meeting this month with industry experts to discuss its concern about the online video ads which download automatically without the knowledge of the customer and increase their data cost.
The seminar will be conducted on October 24 at Hyderabad in which they will discuss in depth for the requirement to regulate these video ads.
One of the official said, “These unsolicited ads on some sites as well as social media platforms which download automatically without the consumers’ knowledge, lead to data consumption. The question is should there be rules and regulations around them, given the non-transparent way in which data usage is happening…”
Another official said that it is not about the content on those ads it is about the data consumption on those ads which plays without the knowledge of the consumer.
“It is about the non-transparent way in which data usage is happening. At about 20-30 paise/mb, data is expensive. So the issue needs to be examined,” said the official.
In the first phase, TRAI plans to hold seminar to discuss this issue with industry experts, telecom service providers and internet as well as with social media companies.
“We want to understand how much data is being consumed by these ads, what can users do to stop them, do the sites allow users the option to stop the ads, is there an upper limit which ensures that data usage should not go beyond a certain level,” the official said.
Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad is the academic partner for the upcoming seminar.
On asking whether this will lead to a consultation papers like in many previous cases the official have declined to comment on that.
“The seminar is an initial step and will help us to identify issues. For example, can these videos have maximum data consumption or time limit, beyond which the videos should stop unless explicitly chosen by the consumer. Or, are these so hidden in the settings that the general public is now aware of the options available,” the official said.
I think rather than putting regulation on those ads, TRAI should put certain regulations on Telecom Industries on data speed and plan because these ads are the source of earning for many Youtubers and online content publishers which are able to give helpful and entertaining content. Even then if the user does not want to see ads, they can use the ad blocker tool to block those ads.
I personally don’t support ad blocker tools because online publishers are working very hard to give us those helpful and entertaining content and in return we should also support them by not using it as otherwise they will not exist on the Internet.
When the world is discussing about the speed of Gbps, TRAI is discussing about saving some MB. What a great job TRAI !