After blogs and websites, the government is planning a clampdown on BPOs and KPOs over, what it feels is, illegal use of internet telephony.Now, tell us, since we're already paying taxes via the rates we pay our ISPs to use their services? The government is already making its kick on it. And how would they do this, we wonder?
It is giving final touches to a proposal under which ITeS companies must furnish the names of authorised service providers from whom bandwidth and internet telephony minutes have been taken. The companies will also have to give an undertaking that they will not use the services of unlicensed foreign service providers such as Net2Phone, Vonage, Dialpad, Impetus, Novanet, Euros, Skype and Yahoo.
As per Department of Telecommunications' (DOT) estimates, these unlicensed service companies provide 30 million minutes of internet telephony per month to corporates, call centres and BPOs in the country.
According to official sources, foreign players such as Skype, in addition to disturbing the level-playing field for bonafide licensees, were also causing great revenue loss to the government as they did not pay the 12% service tax and 6% revenue share on internet telephony.
Bala says 'It'd be interesting to see how they can "block" or even "detect" Skype." So we said to him, 'They seem to be talking about comp-to-phone type stuff. Wonder if they will—or can—target comp-to-comp?' To which Bala said 'They can block voip traffic en masse at ISPs. But it'd be difficult to identify pc-to-phone calls."
Oh yes. They've added the perfect little thingy to get the attention of our nannys in Parliament.
Sources said DoT was keen to implement this move on security grounds too. Foreign service providers could be a "serious security threat as they did not come under any Indian regulator and policy framework," they added.Oh look, it's the ISP's posteriors that are on fire:
Once this proposal is implemented, the government, in case of an emergency, would be able to trace details of all internet telephony minutes. This is because, when minutes are purchased from authorised players, the company is mandated to provide any data pertaining to the use of internet telephony like call detail record, if required by the security agencies.
The government move, when implemented, will fulfil a long-pending demand of internet service providers (ISPs). Internet Service Providers Association of India president Rajesh Chharia said: "It is essential that the government seeks this undertaking from call centres as these foreign service providers do not possess the requisite licences as mandated by the Government of India for Indian ISPs."
Well, what's your take?