Department of Telecommunications forms internal committee to formulate policy on net neutrality

The Department of Telecom (DoT) has constituted an internal committee to formulate a policy on net neutrality issue. The six-member committee will be headed by A K Bhargava, Member (Technology) and will examine the issue of net neutrality from a public policy perspective. The committee will analyse advantages and disadvantages of net neutrality and examine the economic impact of a regulated telecom service sector and unregulated applications and content on the telecom sector. The committee will propose an overall policy in this regard.

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A month ago, Airtel had announced a hike in data charges for VoIP services on its network. That is, existing data plans would now exclude VoIP services, which would be separately charged at higher rates. This immediately drew flak from all quarters – it was criticized by VoIP services like Viber and Line, and led to well-publicized consumer outrage and criticism in the media. Airtel backtracked on this proposed move, but ostensibly not in response to the backlash.

On the other hand, the operator had defended the move to charge an additional fee for net telephony on the ground that it had invested billions of dollars in rolling out network and, therefore, it found it unviable to let over the top players run services without a fee.

Plus, It said it would delay the move in anticipation of a public consultation paper by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the need for regulating over-the-top services (OTT), including VoIP. The paper by TRAI is expected to be published in coming month. In the meantime, the telecom companies had written to TRAI saying that internet telephony is a licensed service permitted only under ISP or Unified License granted under the Indian Telegraph Act.

“Hence, companies offering OTT voice services, without holding a telecom licence in India, would essentially violate and circumvent Indian telecom licensing provisions and provide services that are otherwise only permitted under a telecom license,” said Rajan S Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said in the letter to TRAI.

Over 173 million of India’s approximately 300 million internet users – about 57 percent – access the internet on their mobile phones,” according to recent figures from the internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

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29 Comments on "Department of Telecommunications forms internal committee to formulate policy on net neutrality"

 

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SS
January 18, 2015 3:29 pm 3:29 PM
Lets see whats the outcome hoping it to be positive and it must be positive as they won’t subtract Rs 75 from existing data packs which they are planning to charge separately. They are playing a gamble as they are thinking that people will pay as much they ask. Vodafone mobile connect activation initially required Rs199/month and that too offered no data free. No one used that pack and no one will use it. If airtel thinks it will bring back the same old days then their condition will also be same old. Telecom industry requires innovation and arrogant practices… Read more »
Rama
January 18, 2015 10:00 pm 10:00 PM

@SS
*My previous comment seems a little harsh,sorry for that and yes I will take your advice and try to reduce the size of my comments. Cheers. 🙂

SS
January 19, 2015 11:42 am 11:42 AM

I really don’t know whether TN guys are sooooooo polite or not. It was not at all a harsh comment. I didn’t knew that Tamil was such a polite language that TN people apply the same in English. Be strong and learn some harshness, will be very useful in delhi! 🙂

sandeep
January 18, 2015 11:52 pm 11:52 PM

@rama,
One word…never stop speaking Ur mind.everyone could have their own opinions.doesn’t mean u shorten it as info and knowledge grows by discussions and the day we stop doing that we become a dead democracy.I hope u keep commenting the way u always do.

Rama
January 18, 2015 5:44 pm 5:44 PM
*If you’re a PC geek which I guess you are looking at the linux comments you used to make,you must have stumbled upon websites like Tom’s Hardware and Anand Tech. What they write is what I consider as a proper article and comparatively my articles are much shorter. 😛 *I don’t have any problem in shortening my comments but that would require me to first jot down all my thoughts somewhere and then cherry pick certain point and make a comment but truth to be told I am a really lazy guy. I hardly double check the comments I write… Read more »
January 17, 2015 11:15 pm 11:15 PM

[…] The Department of Telecom (DoT) has constituted an internal committee to formulate a policy on net neutrality issue.  […]

Esmail
January 17, 2015 1:15 pm 1:15 PM

Hoping to see the ruling in favor of 100% net neutrality. If they rule in favor of differential charging for voip it shall be a shame on India.

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