India’s Department of Telecom (DoT) has suggested that while messaging and international voice services provided by internet players don’t require new regulation, it has recommended “regulatory oversight” of local voice services.
The six-member panel, in its review of the broader net neutrality issue, found there was “no case for prescribing regulatory oversight similar to communication services” for OTT messaging and overseas voice services, the Economic Times reported today. But it said that since new voice apps from companies such as WhatsApp and Viber, which offer local calling, aren’t required to follow the same regulations as mobile operators, it “creates a non-level playing field” between the two types of service providers.
The DoT will make a policy recommendation following the public consultation on net neutrality and the regulator’s decision on the issue, which is expected soon, the Times said.
Regarding its review of the controversial zero-rating plans, the DoT on Tuesday reportedly recommended that operators not be allowed to make the deals. It also proposed that “throttling and any sort of prioritisation” of internet traffic be banned.
A month ago, in its preliminary findings, the DoT said that Bharti Airtel’s sponsored content service and Reliance Communications’ zero-rating deal with Facebook/Internet.org are “against the spirit of net neutrality”.
The debate of net neutrality was kicked off in April when leading Indian e-commerce provider Flipkart decided not to get involved with Airtel’s sponsored data service called Zero, following protests from net neutrality supporters.
The DoT panel has also called for a new law covering net neutrality principles to replace the country’s telegraph act, the Times reported.