Telecom Invoice 2023: OTT Apps Not Lined Underneath New Invoice, Telecom Minister Reportedly Says

Over-the-top (OTT) apps or companies won’t be below the ambit of the newly handed Telecommunications Invoice 2023, telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw advised ET Telecom. The minister’s assertion comes days after Parliament handed the brand new telecom invoice that replaces three older legal guidelines, together with the together with the 138-year-old Indian Telegraph Act. Provisions below the brand new invoice scale back the powers of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and provides the federal government unprecedented powers, together with the flexibility to take over telecom companies within the curiosity of nationwide safety.

After the Telecommunications Invoice (2023) was handed on Thursday, considerations had been raised associated to elevated scrutiny and interference from the federal government, if OTT communication apps like WhatsApp and Sign had been included below the ambit of the brand new telecommunications invoice, that’s awaiting the President’s assent, earlier than it turns into regulation.

“[…]There isn’t a protection of OTT within the new telecom invoice handed by the Parliament,” the minister advised the publication, explaining that these OTT apps are at the moment lined by the Data Know-how Act, 2000 and can proceed to be regulated by the identical regulation that’s overseen by the Ministry of Electronics and Data Know-how (MeitY).

Earlier this week, Meta reportedly expressed considerations over the telecom invoice in an inside e-mail to colleagues from Shivnath Thukral, Director and Head of India Public Coverage at Meta. The revised model of the telecommunications invoice that was handed by Parliament doesn’t comprise and references to OTT or OTT platforms, however mentions phrases like ‘telecommunication companies’, ‘messages,’ and ‘telecommunications identifier,’ which might additionally apply to OTT platforms.

The telecom invoice is now ready the President’s assent earlier than it turns into a regulation — it was authorized within the Rajya Sabha by a voice vote on Thursday, a day after it was handed by the Lok Sabha. The invoice is about to switch the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885, the Wi-fi Telegraphy Act of 1933, and the Telegraph Wires (Illegal Possession) Act of 1950.

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