Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Feb 21, 2002
TRAI's green signal for Net telephony from April
NEW DELHI, Feb. 20
THE Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has favoured the introduction of Internet telephony from April 1.
In its recommendations presented to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Wednesday, the authority suggested that the existing basic service operators, cellular mobile service operators and national long-distance operators be permitted the option to deploy voice over Internet protocol (VoIP)-based backbones for providing various services as specified in their respective licences. These are, however, subject to meeting specified quality of service norms.
To provide greater flexibility to operators and more options to customers, TRAI recommended that "in addition to toll- quality telephony service, the facility-based operators be permitted to also offer a lower-than-toll quality telephony service for customers who can accept some degradation in voice quality by engineering a separate VoIP-based backbone accessible by a different service code''.
Internet telephony has been defined as an application service that the customers of ISPs can avail of from their personal computer (PC) capable of processing voice signals. The scope of service includes: PC to PC, PC to phone and IP-based H.323/SIP terminals in India to similar terminals both in India and abroad.
The tariff for toll-quality service offered by facility-based operators should be same as that for equivalent PSTN-based services.
For VoIP-based lower-than-toll quality service, the tariff has been forborne subject to the condition that it must be lower than the tariff for toll-quality service.
The authority has also forborne with respect to tariff for Internet telephony offered by ISPs over public Internet, treating this as a value-added application of Internet service.
It noted that Internet telephony through PCs or IP-based terminals should be made available also through the public tele info centres (PTIC) and Internet kiosks at Sanchar/Cyber Dhabas for the benefit of those who did not own the customer premises equipment required for the service.
"This will make Internet telephony an integral part of the USO programme on which the Authority has already given its recommendations and which includes provisions of PTICs as an essential element to help address the issue of digital divide,'' it said.
Another important recommendations on the issue is that the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) should issue detailed guidelines for monitoring of voice quality by both objective as well as subjective methods of monitoring.
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