Welcoming the proposal to regulate domestic Internet call services provided by apps like WhatsApp and Viber, industry body Assocham has said that the government should expand the scope of regulation to all kind of communication services offered by over the top players.
"While ruling that domestic calls by OTT (over-the-top) CS (communication service) players would be regulated, they have most illogically exempted both international VoIP calling by OTT CSPs as also all messaging by these players.
This is rather bizarre," Assocham Telecom Council Chairman T V Ramachanrdan told PTI. While a section of industry and public have criticised the panel's recommendation to regulate domestic internet calls as anti-consumer, Assocham has welcomed the same.
IT sector body Nasscom has said that monitoring compliance of such recommendation would lead to breach of privacy. Nasscom President and former telecom secretary R Chandrashekhar has said that whole exercise has come about how to protect revenues of telcos which should not be the objective.
Demanding that internet based messaging applications should be regulated, Ramachandran said that OTT messaging has virtually destroyed the telcos' SMS business and a level playing field is the highest priority.
"All voice and messaging are strictly governed by The Telegraph Act and have to be covered by regulation and licence," he said. He said that while almost everyone everywhere swears by net neutrality, each has his or her own perception or understanding of it.
"Committee unhesitatingly recommends that the core principle of net neutrality be adhered to," he said, adding "we need not hard code the definition of net neutrality. Such an approach would surely lead to much disputes and litigation, hurting both industry and consumers."