Disclosure: MediaNama's Founder Nikhil Pahwa is volunteering with SaveTheInternet campaign for net neutrality. What’s the news: SaveTheInternet campaign – that in 2015 asked the government to support net neutrality – has released a joint letter from Indian startups to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) regarding its recent consultation paper on the regulation and selective banning of OTT services. The open letter cautions against the “overregulation of internet services” described as Over-The-Top (“OTT”) services alleging that it has “discriminatory consequences.” https://twitter.com/nixxin/status/1701486228280086562?s=20 The letter argues against such OTTs being subject to the same or similar regulatory framework as telecommunications service providers (“TSPs”). In the consultation paper and some comments submitted by TSPs, it is claimed that internet services are supposedly “direct substitutes of traditional services” and thus steal the latter’s revenues and profits. It also holds the internet services responsible for “a lack of adequate financial incentive for large TSPs to invest in infrastructure due to the lack of compensation.” The letter called the premise of these claims to be “unfounded.” It reasoned as follows: Incorrect to view OTT services as substitute services: The letter asked TRAI to understand that the regulatory difference between TSPs and internet applications/ service providers does not need an intervention since there are inherent structural and functional differences. “Most [internet] services provide multiple functions and services to users, thus categorising them as ‘substitute’ services, or segmenting them as messaging, video and other applications, is incorrect. This simplistic understanding may stem from the use of the…
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