Regulator slams telecom department over internet telephony

March 31st, 2009 - 10:15 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 31 (IANS) India’s telecom regulator Tuesday slammed the Department of Telecom (DoT) over its suggestion to charge a higher entry fee on internet service providers (ISPs) for rolling out internet telephony.
In a reply to DoT, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said: “The authority proposes no change in entry fee for ISPs to provide Internet telephony… Any direct comparison of access service providers (telecom operators) and ISPs, due to vast difference in privileges, services, and resources given to them under their respective licenses, does not seem to be desirable.”

Earlier, the DoT had suggested higher entry fee for ISPs who pay up to 6 percent of their average gross revenue (AGR) as licence fee, whereas the telecom operators are paying up to 10 percent.

Rejecting the DoT proposal, the TRAI has recommended a uniform annual licence fee of 6 percent on all ISPs.

The telecom watchdog also said the 6 percent licence fee should be extended across all licence types - unified license, class license and niche operators.

The TRAI told the DoT that the ISPs should not be restricted from offering full-fledged internet telephony even though 12 telecom service providers operate in segment.

“The unrestricted internet telephony has not been started by access service providers even after lapse of approximately 3 years. Hence restrictions imposed on ISPs must be withdrawn so that such innovative services can reach to common masses,” the TRAI said.

Slamming the DoT over delaying opening of unrestricted internet telephony in India, the regulator warned the government that restrictions on availability of the services would encourage grey market operations.

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