Indian telcos demand same treatment as OTTsIndian telcos demand same treatment as OTTs
Telecom operators are outraged that Internet companies are not subject to the same tough obligations.
February 19, 2021
India's telecom operators have called on the government not to give preferential treatment to Internet services such as WhatsApp, Skype, Google Duo and Facebook Messenger.
A letter sent to the Department of Telecommunications ask for "same service, same rules" treatment and a level playing field.
The COAI notes that while operators must pay heavily for spectrum, license fees and taxes, OTT players do not face similar obligations.
It wants regulatory obligations on telcos to be relaxed and thinks net neutrality rules should be dropped.
The government mandated net neutrality principles in 2018, stipulating that telcos must not discriminate between different Internet services. The rules mean operators cannot throttle speeds or performance for any specific content.
Telcos also complain that OTT platforms are under no obligation to respect user privacy, while operators must comply with various measures under their licensing terms.
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The service providers also draw attention to the substantial investments they have made in Lawful Interception and Monitoring (LIM) systems so that government and security agencies can trace calls, messages and other communications.
The COAI argues that OTT players do not have to guarantee the confidentiality of user data are not even obliged to provide encryption keys to security agencies. It alleges there is no monitoring of data on OTT platforms, and says this is why data can be "grossly misused" by malicious parties.
Indian telcos have been raising concerns about OTT for some time. Last year, the Indian telecom regulator said "no regulatory intervention was needed" on issues relating to privacy and security of OTT services.
It has also shied away from recommending a regulatory framework for OTT services.
— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, Light Reading
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