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January 19, 1998


Govt cautioned over Web telephony

Email this story to a friend. Infocom experts today cautioned the government over its decision to ban voice over the Internet, pointing out that there is a paradigm shift in the Internet itself with it becoming the new media.

''Voice over the Net is replacing phone calls,'' a Bay Networks executive said at Ifotex-98, a seminar and exhibition in New Delhi.

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The Internet was at the centre of discussions with experts from government and the private sector asserting that voice on the Net is real.

Already there are at least six companies that are marketing software for phone calls over the Net.

National Informatics Centre officer Debjani Nag explained how electronic commerce over the Internet is becoming popular due to its lower costs, easier access and greater reach than over secure networks.

Even start-up companies with a small turnover are able to afford the Internet as a medium of electronic commerce, she said.

The strong cost advantage in securing documents over the Net is one of the many factors that has made the Internet popular, according to R K Verma, director at the electronic research and development centre. One other motivating force is the fact that up to 60 per cent of the software could be down loaded from the Internet free of cost.

He said estimates are that commerce over the Internet could be $100 billion soon. ''Access to the Internet must be freely available and many service providers should be allowed to come in,'' he said.

Internet subscribers in Delhi and Bombay would be well advised to take an ISDN line, as it would cost only Rs 1,000 per month. Voice, video and text would be accessible more rapidly and will be of higher quality with an ISDN line, according to MTNL officer Parameshwaran.

However, only whose phone bill total at least Rs 5,000 per month would be eligible for the line.

The problems which Internet subscribers face in Delhi and Bombay would also be resolved as the MTNL is building a strong network management system which is end to end, Parameswaran said.

Department of Electronics Senior Director S Ramakrishnan said the world over people want authentic information and by government placing its information online, it would serve the worldwide demand for authentic information.

DoT is building up a powerful 2.5 gigabits broadband backbone network to support Internet access, Renu Bhatia said.

With the tele-denisty also projected to go up to 8 per cent by 2007, the Internet would be widely in use in the country in the years to come.

Yogendra Pal, director at the All India Radio, said the Internet could be used for broadcasting. He said that AIR gets email from all over the world asking for authentic information on various aspects of the country and its development.

Internet access on wireless in local loop, using the indigenous corDECT technology would enhance quality of data and video on it, according to Manjit Singh, vice-president, Crompton Greaves. Because of built-in encryption in this technology, the information on the Internet would also be more secure, he said.

Indian Railways Executive Director of Telecom Development M L Gambhir told the Infotex-98 meeting that the railways had decided to equip all major trains with telephone which could work with payphone cards. The current experiment of having Inmarsat based phone on Rajdhani expresses would be further expanded but new technologies that make phone calls on running trains much cheaper are on the way.

According to a press release, the seminar also discussed specific benefits of new technology like VSAT and satellite-based communication. Dr Bishnu Pradhan, senior vice-president with ICO Global communications holdings, said that a duel mode phone is being developed that would enable people to interact effectively with the emerging multi-carrier phone world.

Global mobile public communications systems, based on different levels of satellites, are emerging as a significant medium of communication, Dr Pradhan said.

According to Manoj Chugh of Scientific Atlanta, VSAT technology has proven as an excellent means of securing business communication. There were over 3,000 VSATs in 1997-98 and annual growth was over 40 per cent. Internet connectivity through VSAT is possible.


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