Mobile consumers in Singapore must be given access to Web content and apps, and Internet service providers (ISPs) should not create barriers to block such access.
That's the statement ICT regulator Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) issued after the CEO of local telco, SingTel, urged regulators to allow carriers to charge over-the-top players such as WhatsApp and Skype for the use of their networks. The country has three mobile operators: SingTel, StarHub, and M1.
An IDA spokesperson told ZDNet it was "closely monitoring" developments in this space and tracking international discussions between telcos and OTT service providers, specifically, debates around Net neutrality. "These discussions are complex as they require policies and regulatory measures that balance the need to promote innovation and competition in the Internet space, ensure non-discriminatory access to the Internet, and ensure protection of consumer interest," he said.
He noted that IDA, today, assumes a general policy position that consumers should have access to all legitimate content and applications on the internet. ISPs are not permitted to block or impose restrictions on such access, and should not implement charges or other measures that cause any legitimate Web content to be inaccessible or unusable, he added.
"ISPs are also not allowed to adopt internet traffic management practices that will compromise IDA's Quality of Service standards for internet access or any anti-competitive discriminatory practice that would harm consumers' interest.
"We are studying SingTel's and StarHub's plans to ensure IDA's policies are updated and continue to protect consumers' interests, while allowing market innovation," the spokesperson said.