The Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) has reached out to U.S President Barack Obama, asking him to look into how companies such as Microsoft and Facebook provide Internet telephony and over-the-top services in the country by bypassing “Indian law and security”.
In a letter to Mr. Obama, ISPAI has pointed out that Google and Microsoft provide services like Google Talk and Skype by bypassing the laws of the land. “Voice services are licensed as per Indian Telegraph Act. Presently, these licences are available without any restriction on a number of licenses. Even with such a liberal policy, these companies [Google, Microsoft, Facebook] are not taking licence to provide these services,” the letter says. The issue of Internet telephony has long been a source of contention, with multi-national companies claiming that their services don’t accrue any revenue, as they are, by and large, free, and, therefore, are not liable to pay service tax.
The ISPAI, in its letter, has also claimed that “they [U.S companies] are not paying taxes as per Indian law like service tax/licence fees on service provided within India.” “We agree that time is for net neutrality… but at the same time we should also respect the law of the land as you would expect from companies providing services in the U.S.,” the letter says.