Net telephony: DoT panel says telcos in, ISPs out

Telecom service providers, whether they are providing basic, cellular, National Long Distance (NLD) and International Long Distance (ILD) services, will be permitted to offer Internet telephony services.

Telecom service providers, whether they are providing basic, cellular, National Long Distance (NLD) and International Long Distance (ILD) services, will be permitted to offer Internet telephony services.

ZDNet India - These are the recommendations of a committee constituted by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to review opening up of Internet telephony. According to the recommendations of this committee, “Any licenced Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN)/PLMN/NLD/ILD operator may be permitted to offer Internet Telephony services as per licence conditions of the respective services.”

The committee, which had considered the option of a separate category of IP Telephony Service Provider (ILTSP), concluded that any new category of service providers will also lead to technical problems which may be very difficult to sort out as the new service provider will have to interconnect with all the existing operators, including NLD operators and may lead to litigations.

The recommendations, which were circulated in Telecom Commission meeting held on May 29, also added that introduction of Internet Telephony may be considered after opening up of international voice telephony to private operators.

Since long distance revenues are used to subsidise local access, cost based tariffing would have to be introduced and allowed to stabilize before introducing Internet Telephony.

This means that while the government has been indicating that it will legalize Internet telephony after the monopoly of the Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) ends in April 2002, it might now delay allowing it for another year after the sector opens up for competition.

Source: The Financial Express

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