Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that the government will decide the fate of internet-based calls in the country following telecom regulator Trai’s recommendations on such voice-calling apps. “Trai has issued a consultation paper ‘Regulatory Framework for Over the Top (OTT) service’ on March 27, 2015, which includes regulatory treatment of voice over Internet protocol (VoIP). Government will take a position on this aspect after the outcome of this consultation process of Trai,” Prasad informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply.
“Government policy on net neutrality shall be finalised after taking into account recommendations of committee constituted at Department of Telecommunication, recommendations of Trai and other inputs to the government,” Prasad said.
In a major boost to net neutrality in the country, earlier this month the telecom regulator had announced that no service provider will be allowed to offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content. It further announced that a penalty of Rs 50,000 a day, capped at Rs 50 lakh, will be levied on service providers breaching the rule.
It maintained that the regulation will not be applicable for data services over closed communication networks, unless tariffs offered evade prohibition of this regulation. No telecom service provider is allowed to enter into any agreement that has effect of discriminatory tariffs for data services being offered on basis of content.