The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has cleared that it would no longer be a party for the regulation of OTT (Over the top) services. The decision will lead to exclusion of OTT medium from telecommunication services.
The development has come ahead of the proposal of Telecom Bill in the Winter session of the Parliament. The upcoming bill is supposed to replace three current laws including – the Indian Telegraph Act,1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraph Act,1933 and the Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act,1950-to bring regulation up to speed with technology.
A senior official of Department of Telecommunications (DoT), has confirmed ro media publications that in the Indian Telegraph Act the domain of teleservices was extensive, however the upcoming bill has excluded the need of OTT services.
The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) will govern services like Whatsapp, on the other side Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) will helm the affairs of streaming services such as Netflix, Prime Video among others.
Similarly, both ministries are also working on different bills for the exclusive inclusion of new services. For instance, MeitY is working on Digital India Act, while the MIB is working on the Broadcasting services Bill.
Taking a opposite stand on this, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended banning of certain OTT services in a consultation paper. Titled as “Broadband India Forum”, it said that such move might disrupt the current competitive environment and undermine consumer benefits.
It is a major revelation for OTT services, which were long demanding from the exclusion under DoT. Upon implementation, it will act for the exemption of regulatory fees by OTT services.
In the contrast, the move is met with larger opposition from telecommunications and cable networks, which feel such decision is intently directed against them.
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