By Alok Saboo on May 21st, 2012
VoIP, or voice over internet protocol, uses the same principles as a regular telephone service, except VoIP uses the power of the internet to offer low-cost means of communication. VoIP is also referred to as broadband telephone or internet telephony. Telecommunication services typically are subject to oversight by regulatory agency. For example, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is responsible for regulating all aspects of communications, including wired and wire line. Similarly, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) along with Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is in charge of regulations involved with all telecommunications in India.
Brief History of VoIP
The history of VoIP goes back to 1995 when the first software for the phone made it possible to make phone calls over the internet. This software was designed by a company called Vocaltec. In order to be able to use the software, a home computer used a sound card, a microphone to speak to the other person, and of course, speakers to be able to hear the other person. However around this time internet connections were not as readily available or as reliable as they are now. Phone calls made using VoIP were not of as good a quality as could be achieved using a telephone.
By mid 2000, the issue of the quality of sound was largely resolved and VoIP calls had clear and crisp sound. It became more reliable than it was in the past, leading to a rapid explosion in adoption of VoIP. You could be living in the United States and talk to your family anywhere else around the world. VoIP has proven to be a much less expensive method to communicate as well.
VoIP Regulations in India
In the past there were regulations of VoIP in India which prohibited the use of such services. Now, however, Indian residents have been given more access to the technology, thus enabling them to make long distance telephone calls for a cheaper rate. This has caused the rate of usage of VoIP to increase. Indian residents are now able to use their computer to make phone calls abroad. They can make phone calls computer to computer anywhere and use a device called SIP/H.323 on a device that is similar in India or in another country. Calls can also be made to a mobile phone. However, the call cannot terminate at a traditional phone call within the country of India.
On March 6th, TRAI made the recommendation on National Telecom Policy (NTP) that VoIP be given unrestricted access in India. The NTP is to forward the TRAI goals to increase the level of teledensity in rural areas from the present level of just under 40% up to 70% in 2017 and up to 100% in 2020. Another goal is to provide high-quality broadband access to all village councils by 2014, and to all habitations by 2020. A spokesperson for the DoT said that India is now ready to allow the technology into the country. Voice calls will be able to take place between a computer and a phone within the country of India as well as to mobile phones. The new services which will be available will help new competition to emerge in India. It should also make it possible for a wholesale market to start, since there is not one that exists at present. The new policy is yet to be adopted. Companies are still making preparations for the launch and are going through the processes of choosing the services and devices, which includes telephone and content.
There are also, likely, going to be some challenges. There will, for example, likely be some initial problems with security. However, overall, the innovation that will undoubtedly take place will be good for consumers.
About the Author: This post has been contributed by Nirra Poret. She also blogs about the latest Indian defence news.