The department of telecommunications (DoT) has set up a ‘net-neutrality’ committee to examine the economic impact of co-existence of a regulated telecom services sector and an unregulated content and applications sector, including over the top (OTT) services.
The committee will also recommend an overall policy, besides regulatory and technical responses, after assessing the issues related to these.
Under the principle of net-neutrality, telecom operators or anyone playing a role in delivery of internet must not impose any discriminating barrier for accessing internet or internet-based services.
The issue had come to light recently when Bharti Airtel, India’s biggest telecom service provider, decided to impose separate charges for calls made over internet connections. The company, though, had later withdrawn the proposal.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is expected to come out with a consultation paper to seek public view on regulating OTT players like Skype, WhatsApp and Viber, which facilitate making calls or sending text messages using internet, for free. OTT subscribers are only required to pay data charges for using these services.
Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had recently said the net-neutrality principle was important and views of all stakeholders would be taken for evolving a governance model for the web.