Now, telecom dept wants to regulate WhatsApp, Viber calls

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 02, 2015 12:27 IST

India's Department of Telecommunication says it doesn't want to regulate any over-the-top services or apps in a report. But it has called for "regulatory oversight" on services that offer local voice calls. Guess what those include: WhatsApp, Viber, Skype and many more.

According to an Economic Times report , a six-member internal committee of the telecom ministry has also suggested a new law incorporating principles of net neutrality to replace the Indian Telegraph Act -- which is ironic considering that any regulation to services that provide voice calling over data breaks the basic rules of net neutrality in the first place.

Net neutrality essentially means that all data on the internet -- voice, video, pictures, text and more -- should be treated equally by service providers and that there should be no discrimination in terms of speed or access.

The ministry's logic behind regulating apps like Viber and WhatApp? They don't have to follow regulations like mobile phone operators do for phone calls. This, says the ministry's report, creates a non-level playing field between two providers of similar services.

The DoT's report is one of the things that the government will consider when it takes a decision on net neutrality. There will, however, also be public consultation on the subject. The government has, so far, taken a pro net neutrality stand in parliamentary debates.


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