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Telcos demand a level playing field with OTT players

The telecom industry has demanded that there should be a single act to regulate various services like OTT (apps), DTH, content etc as technology has blurred the lines of segregation. Apart from that, the industry has sought regulatory certainty as well as other enabling measures for ease of doing business.

The submission by telecom operators was part of the consultation process by Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on the need for a new legal framework governing telecommunication in India.

“In the converged era, there should be a single Convergence Act that should regulate all the communication services,” said an executive of the telecom firm, who doesn’t want to be quoted.

The telecom firms have reiterated their demand to regulate over-the-top (OTT) communication services like WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram etc. It has been highlighted that while telecom operators must comply with various rules and regulations, no such policy is there for OTT players, which also offer the same set of services to consumers.

On its part, DoT too feels that OTT apps should be regulated, and the department is currently working on a mechanism to frame a law on the same. ET had earlier reported that DoT would soon start consultations with the ministries of electronics and IT (MeitY) and information and broadcasting, besides seeking views from the telecom regulator on the issue.

The telecom firms have also submitted that broadcast, content and telecom have merged to become one and therefore, a single Act should regulate the services. Currently, content is being looked after by the Ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) while intermediary rules under Meity govern the internet and DoT regulates the mobile services. Sometimes due to the multiplicity of various rules, problems are encountered in implementation. Pehal News

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