“Let there be unrestricted Internet Telephony In India”, says TRAI, and hopefully, there will be.

In what could be a watershed event for Broadband in India, the telecom regulator has recommended that the Government remove all restrictions on Internet Telephony in India. As of now, VoIP services providers have not been allowed to terminate calls on landline and mobile networks. If these guidelines are accepted, VoIP calls to landline and mobile phones will be allowed.

Frankly, this is quite a change from what we’d heard a year or so ago, where questions were being raised about Skype and Google Talk offering Internet Telephony in India illegally. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), has said that, contrary to their expectations, telecom operators with the Universal Access Services License (UASL) have failed to offer advanced value added services like Internet Telephony, in contrast to a global scenario.

Therefore, they’re recommending the removal of regulatory restrictions that prevent ISPs from offering provide unrestricted Internet Telephony. The current restrictions only promote “grey market activities” to provide these services to people. As per the recommendations:

— ISPs will be allowed to terminate Internet Telephony calls on PSTN/PLMN networks, and vice versa. i.e. VoIP calls to mobiles and landlines will be allowed.
— National Long Distance operators shall be permitted to connect to ISPs though public Internet fo unrestricted Internet Telephony
— Distinct number resources shall be identified for Internet Telephony subscribers, and allocated to ISPs, Universal Access Service Providers, etc

Bear in mind that these are recommendations. The final policy will be decided by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT)

We’ll have more from the recommendation paper shortly; watch this space.