DoT sends back Trai recommendation on internet telephony

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DoT sends back Trai recommendation on internet telephony
DoT sends back Trai recommendation on internet telephony

Trai, in 2008, had recommended that ISPs shall be allowed to provide internet telephony including calls on normal telephone networks but, as per the requirement of security agencies, they will have to pay interconnection charges, install lawful interception equipment

DoT, which has last week sent back a recommendation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on internet telephony issued in 2008, for review, and has asked the sector regulator to come up with comprehensive reference due to the change in technical environment amid the emergence of new technologies, has sought views of sector regulator Trai to prepare a framework for regulating internet calling and messaging apps like WhatsApp, Signal, Google Meet etc., a government official said on Wednesday.

“The Internet Telephony recommendation of Trai was not accepted by the Department of Telecom (DoT). The Department has now sought comprehensive reference from Trai for internet telephony and over-the-top players,” the official, who did not wish to be named, told PTI.

Telecom operators have been asking the government to apply the principle of “same service same rules” for the industry.

As applicable on telecom operators and internet service providers (ISPs), they have frequently asked that internet calling and messaging apps should pay the same level of licence fee, comply with regulation of legal interception, quality of service etc.

Trai, in 2008, had recommended that ISPs shall be allowed to provide internet telephony including calls on normal telephone networks but, as per the requirement of security agencies, they will have to pay interconnection charges, install lawful interception equipment.

In 2016-17 as well, the issue was raised by telecom operators, when the issue of net neutrality was being discussed by the regulator and the government.

However, restrictions on call and messaging service being provided by apps were not imposed by the government.

By removing interconnect usage charges, the regulator, however, eased the cost burden on telecom operators to bring their calling cost at par with that of calling apps.

IUC is a charge that is paid by a telco to another operator when its customers make voice calls to subscribers of the rival network.

However, any such charges were not to be paid by calling and messaging apps.

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