You may soon have to shell out extra bucks to pay off your Internet bill. The Internet Service Provider Association of India (ISPAI) has indicated that Internet and broadband service rates may rise under the new licenses framework, owing to the high entry fee that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has proposed.
DoT reportedly has proposed a one-time entry fee of Rs 15 crores for a national-level Unified Licence ; at the moment, companies pay 30 lakh for the same for Internet services.
In his statement to PTI, ISPAI President Rajesh Charia said, “DoT has not done anything new as per the proposed format for Unified Licence regime. They are going ahead with option to continue the old licence format along with a new national level Unified Licence (UL) that will cost Rs 15 crore. If internet service providers opt for UL, then cost of internet and broadband services will go up.”
Are you ready to pay extra? (Image Credits: Getty Images)
What's key here is that as part of the new licensing, DoT should allow Internet telephony services. With this, it is expected that the low cost call service would be implemented and would even be taken to rural areas with high levels of illiteracy.
Charia added, “VoIP is widely accepted application. Foreign companies who are not registered with DoT are providing voice calling service both between Computer to Computer and Computer to landlines. They don't even have licences. We pay annual charges to DoT and should be allowed to provide voice services across networks.”
Interestingly, a DoT internal committee has recommended that ISPs with wireless broadband spectrum be allowed to offer VoIP services. Reportedly, in 2010, Reliance Jio Infocom, formerly Infotel Broadband, Tikona Digital and Augere, among others had won the BWA spectrum.
These reports come only days after BSNL honcho called Skype, the popular VoIP service ‘illegal’ in the country. The Central Government of India is re-examining the legality of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) features in the country. The reasoning behind the re-examination is that while Indian telecom companies and Internet service providers will pay a revenue share for offering voice over Internet to the centre, globally large VoIP providers like Skype and Google are running their services without offering a single rupee to it.
The Union Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology, Killi Kruparani addressed the press on Monday saying that the government is going to look at these services soon. Kruparani was at the event to launch video calling services for the South and Eastern zones of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.
While the government is still contemplating looking into these services, BSNL Chief General Manager V Srinivasan has already launched an out and out attack on services like Skype saying that the video calling services provided by companies like Google and Microsoft are unlawful and illegal. “What we are offering is a legal service,” he said.
The Video Telephony service that has been launched in all east, west, north and south zones aims to be BSNL’s trump card to tap into Internet calling facilities like voice and video calling. Kuruparani called the service “affordable” at Rs 2.50 a minute and no broadband consumption involved for the service. Users can also avail of the service for Rs 2,200 for a 30-day plan.