Business VoIP Featured Article

India DOT Says Yes to Net Neutrality, But Tax VoIP Services

July 24, 2015

By Michelle Amodio, Business VoIP Contributor

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has come out in favor of net neutrality, however the regulation of VoIP services has been put on the radar.

The crux of the matter is that a DoT committee recommends that the core principle of net neutrality should be followed; however there is a need to protect networks from disruptive attacks, management of flow of traffic, compliance with legal obligations, maintenance of Quality of Service (QoS), and so on.


A report from DoT proposed regulating local and national calling over VoIP apps, such as WhatsApp and Skype, which could potentially result in consumers paying for them.

"Government is committed to the fundamental principles and concept of net neutrality and strives for non-discriminatory access for all citizens of the country... Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is also engaged in consultation process covering the issues related to net neutrality," said communications and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, according to news reports.

The government will take a "considered decision on various aspects of net neutrality, in the best interests of the country,” according to Prasad.

Net neutrality is a global issue and still one that is up for debate here in the U.S.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 sets forth the differences in the definition and regulation of these services. Regulation and policy toward VoIP has always been lagging in the U.S., exacerbated by the competition for authority between the federal center and the states. The FCC has always narrowly favored light regulation of VoIP, but many states have been hostile to any attempt to diminish their power to regulate telecom operators within their territory.

India’s national telecom policy 2012 has opened up full Internet telephony in the country. This has put additional pricing pressure on Indian telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular. Voice service has become a commodity in India and mobile service providers are unable to find adequate growth from voice business.

Regulators from both sides of the pond face the difficult task of balancing the public interest and the continued promotion of the advancement of emerging technologies.




Edited by Maurice Nagle


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