Industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has urged the government to bring over-the-top (OTT) service providers like WhatsApp, Google Duo, etc under licensing regime and defer net neutrality rules on telecom operators till the time ‘same service same rules’ are applied on the apps.
- Telecom operators have been demanding that the government should impose ‘same service, same rules’ to provide a level playing field in the sector.
- But, recently Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had recommended that no regulations should be imposed on the calling and messaging apps till time clarity emerges in the international jurisdictions.
- Till the time any decision is taken regarding licensing of OTT communication providers, the un-equitability between TSPs (telecom service providers) and OTTs should not be increased further in any manner.
- Therefore, till such time, no new licensing conditions, including that of traffic management practices for net neutrality, etc., should be imposed on TSPs.
- It means that governments and internet service providers treat all data on the internet equally and do not differentially charge consumers for higher-quality delivery or giving preferential treatment to certain websites.
- Network neutrality requires all Internet service providers (ISPs) to provide the same level of data access and speed to all traffic, and that traffic to one service or website cannot be blocked or degraded.