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TRAI planning to regulate IM apps like WhatsApp, Skype

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There have been murmurs in the telecom industry that TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) is planning to put a regulation on IM apps like WhatsApp, Skype and they might be true.

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The authority has just started the process to put a regulation to these apps, which are also known as the OTT(over the top) apps. TRAI has put out a consultation paper to discuss regulation around OTT services.  According to the consultation paper, “Today, users can directly access these applications online from any place, at any time, using a variety of internet connected consumer devices. It is becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to know if there is an economic difference in connecting various networks via a landline phone, cell phone, or a computer.”

The telecom operators and IM companies have been loggerheads on this matter, as the telecom operators believe that the IM apps are eating up their revenue while IM companies believe regulation is against net neutrality

The net neutrality principle states the telecom operators and governments should treat all services on the internet equally and not differentiate in price, which would discourage the general public. Unfortunately, there’s no net neutrality legislation in India as of now.

TRAI secretary Sudhir Gupta commented, “Worldwide, there is an ongoing debate among governments, industry and consumers regarding regulations of OTT services and net-neutrality. In this background, Trai today released a consultation paper on regulatory framework for OTT services.”

The authority has asked the views of the people concerned with the issue by April 24 and counter comments by May 8.

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