TechnoparkToday.com(Dec,2014): This new year may not be much of a delight for Airtel subscribers. In an unprecedented move, Bharti Airtel customers will be charged more for voice and video calls made on Skype, Viber and similar services than for browsing the internet.
According to their new policy – All Internet/data packs or plans (through which customer can avail discounted rate) shall only be valid for internet browsing and will exclude VoIP (Both incoming/ Outgoing). VoIP over data connectivity would be charged at standard data rates of 4p / 10 KB (3G service) and 10p / 10 KB (2G service).
It goes against the principle of net neutrality whereby service providers treat all data on the internet equally and not impose differential pricing or discriminate between users, content sites, platforms and apps.
Globally, especially in developed markets like Germany where Viber originated and even the US, no telecom operator charges differential rates for VoIP and internet browsing.
India’s telecom regulator is examining the issue and is expected to issue a consultation paper on so called over-the-top (OTT) players or apps that ride on telecom networks. The regulator is already scrutinizing Airtel’s exclusive WhatsApp and Facebook data packs to determine whether these amount to providing preferential access to specific content providers over others.
“It’s like your Carrot Vendor Charging More if you will make Soup instead of Halwa out of it!” – Says Paresh, A Techie.
We TechnoparkToday.com, believe that the neutrality of the internet must be maintained at all costs. It is unethical to charge extra for data used to make voip calls via Viber, Skype etc.
If you agree with us, please email the below to the addresses mentioned.
The Honorable Minister, Department of Telecommunications.
Subject: Gross Violation of Net Neutrality and Restrictive Business Malpractice by Airtel India.
It has come to our attention today that #Airtel has decided to start charging for VOIP data traffic on all Subscribed Internet Plans.
Quoting it, from their terms and conditions page:
“All Internet/data packs or plans (through which customer can avail discounted rate) shall only be valid for Internet browsing and will exclude VoIP (Both incoming/ Outgoing). VoIP over data connectivity would be charged at standard data rates of 4p / 10 KB (3G service) and 10p / 10 KB (2G service). “
This is a gross violation of the principles of Net Neutrality. As the Internet is essentially seen as a utility, promoting such a misstep is only going to further impede the government’s vision of providing cheap and affordable Internet to all its citizens.
Being providers of utility services, an ISP should not be able to control or alter the terms of access to such services according to their whims and fantasies. This is going to set a dangerous precedent where ISP’s will have the ability to dictate the terms for all internet companies, unless they are paid first.
This is similar to how monopolies act, and the government should be more proactive in trying to discourage such business practices.
We would also like to bring to your notice that failing to prevent such malpractices will lead to further collusion and cartel-like behavior among the Indian ISPs.
We have already seen enough instances of such behavior, where some of these same ISP’s have colluded against the interests of the consumer and the exchequer. Therefore, we believe that it is time the government took notice of this issue.
India is a growing economy with a nascent Internet Industry. Failure to prevent the spread of such practices will further discourage Internet startups from working and/or coming to India, leading to fewer businesses and reduced employments in the future.
We ask for your help, in keeping the Internet open and available to all the citizens of India. We sincerely believe it is the most powerful medium of communication that humanity has ever created, and a failure to act today, might endanger this nascent tool from achieving its greatness.
Info Courtesy : Logical Indian