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WhatsApp, Google Duo, Telegram and many such calling and messaging apps are now set to be brought under the purview of telecom laws. In this regard, the government has introduced a draft bill. It proposes that over the top (OTT) ie telecom services that are different from traditional telecom services and work through the Internet, will also be brought under the purview of telecom service. The government has introduced many such proposals in the Draft Telecommunication Bill 2022, which will bring about drastic changes in the telecom laws.
According to the draft bill that came out on Wednesday, OTT services will also be considered as part of telecom services. According to the draft bill, any provider of telecom service and network facility will have to obtain a licence. The government has also proposed to waive off fees and penalties for telecom and internet service providers in this bill. The ministry has also proposed that if a telecom or internet service provider surrenders his service license, the fee paid should be refunded.
Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnav said the new Telecom Bill will provide a clear roadmap for restructuring the industry and promoting new technology adoption. In the next year and a half to two years, the government should be able to completely change the entire digital regulatory framework.
That’s why the government wants change
The government has asked the industry and people to give suggestions on this proposal by 20 October. The ministry says that on the basis of the suggestions received so far, these things have drawn attention.
- To strengthen the legal framework for the future.
- Redesigning the names and definitions used in the field of telecommunications in accordance with the new law.
- Streamlining the legal framework for spectrum management to better address the challenges associated with it.
- Adopting world class practices in the field of telecommunications, cyber security, national security and preparedness to deal with common threats in keeping with the constitution and rules and regulations.
- To make the process of levying and imposing penalties on Telecom and Internet Service Providers more rational.
These services will also come under the purview of the Telecom Act.
According to the new draft bill, apart from OTT services like WhatsApp, Google Duo, Telegram and Zoom, other services that will come under the purview of telecom services include broadcasting services, email, voice mail, voice, video and data communication services, audiotex services, Videotex Services, Fixed and Mobile Services, Internet and Broadband Services, Satellite Based Communication Services, Walkie-Talkie, Machine to Machine Services, Internet Based Communication Services, Communication Services Used in Airplanes and Ships.