Telecommunication Bill, 2022
- The Ministry of Communications released a draft of the Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022 last week for public comments.
- The draft is an attempt by the government to update the extant regulatory framework in keeping with the advancements and challenges in the sector.
What is there in the bill?
- The term of “telecommunication services” is expanded to cover OTT communication services in the present Bill draught.
- As a result, the licencing requirements for OTT telecom services may be the same as those for TSPs.
- If OTT communication services are required to obtain the same licence, they would also be subject to a number of requirements, including upholding “know your customer” details of their users, adhering to specific encryption regulations, and granting the government lawful access to their equipment and networks.
Which erstwhile laws are being scrapped?
- The government is attempting to reform the current regulatory framework to reflect advancements and challenges in the industry through the draught Indian Telecommunication Bill.
- This was greatly needed because the three main pieces of law that govern this area are very old—the most recent of these was passed more than 70 years ago.
- These laws are the Telegraph Wires (Unlawful) Possession Act of 1950, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1933, and the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885.
- The Indian Telecommunication Bill seeks to “restructure the legal and regulatory framework” for the telecommunications industry by repealing several laws.
What is the concern of TSPs?
- Real-time, person-to-person communications services are provided by over-the-top (OTT) communication services.
- These include chat services like Whatsapp, Telegram, Signal, Messenger, Duo, Google Meet, etc. as well as other well-known examples.
- The functionalities offered by these platforms, which employ the network infrastructure of telecom service providers like Airtel, Vodafone, and Jio, compete with telecommunication services like voice calls and SMS services.
- Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) claim that these features give them a double blow because they reduce their income streams (voice calls and SMS) while freeing them from the burden of infrastructure and licencing expenses.
- TSPs have so been calling for an equal playing field with OTT services.
Source The Hindu
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