OTT - VOIP Services - Should they be charged?

OTT - VOIP Services - Should they be charged?


The debate about charging OTT and VOIP services started when the concept of net neutrality was questioned. Net Neutrality is the principle that internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication. The recently released report by DOPT has suggested that VOIP services can be charged despite endorsing the principle of net neutrality which has sparked up the whole debate again.

Yes, they should be charged!

• Since these services are used popularly and in a large number, charging them will create more revenue for the service providers, which can be used for spreading the internet facilities in rural and left areas of the country and the world.

• Day by day internet is becoming a huge thing to manage and regulate because so many negative things in the form of spreading propaganda, watching porn and other abuses are coming to the fore and challenging the government security as well as emerging as a threat to the life of a common man.

• In fact, there is serious drawback on the part of these services because if anything wrong happens, there is no way to catch hold of the people behind it.

• VOIP services use the infrastructure of telecoms. The service gets popular but the telecoms bear the cost. Is that justified?

Against charging these services

• Internet has brought democratization of information and knowledge. The telecom companies do charge their customers for the bandwidth they consume. Which service consumes the business should not matter.

• Most importantly, internet acts as a place for innovation and creativity. Allowing OTT service bundling, case by case zero rating or preferred access speeds will stifle innovation and hamper the start-up culture in the country.

• The recent report of the DOPT has said about charging domestic internet calls but not the international calls. This is discriminatory as well as difficult to manage.


Charging the OTT services or VOIP services is not the bigger issue. The real issue is about protecting the core principles of net neutrality. The government report is rather vague. There is a need of wider consultations among all the stakeholders about this because of the number of things at stake like national security, consumer choice, business, innovation, internet freedom etc.

In fact, the midway should be worked out in such a way that extension of internet towards those areas should increase and innovation, equality and freedom for the internet should not be stifled.
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  • RE: OTT - VOIP Services - Should they be charged? -Deepa Kaushik (07/20/15)
  • The debate intoaction following the net neutrality is to be considered. Is that enough to charge the OTT-VOIP services, or the more importantly we need to manage and channelise the data flow in a more organized way? Just charging the services wouldnot resolve the concern ofnet neutrality.

    Charging the services also has another thingto be considered. The end user is already been charged for the data usage from the telecom providers. In these circumstances, whether it would be apt to burden the user with an added charge for the OTT-VOIP services? Though the telecom provider is not getting a per call count, yet they are charging for the per data usage. instead of using the call minutes, the end user is consuming the data and getting charged for the same. Then, why should the user bear an added amount both for data and call?

    Whatb is more required is the restriction over the flow of information through the Internet. If we are more focussed over secured browsing, we need to put a check on the deliverables through the Internet by each and every person residing within the geographical boundary of th country. Hence, rather than focussing on the OTT-VOIP charges, we should ideally concentrate on resolving the concern of net neutrality.