Access Alert | India Launches a Consultation on the New Telecommunications Bill 2022 

Access Alert | India Launches a Consultation on the New Telecommunications Bill 2022 

With a population of around 1.4 billion people, India is now the world’s second largest telecommunication ecosystem. The current regulatory framework governing the provision of electronic communication in India dates back from 1885, a time when technology was rudimentary and the telecommunications industry in its nascent stages. As a result, the law had to be interpreted in ways that extended its meaning well beyond what was originally intended. In a bid to adapt to the needs and realities of the 21st century and promote innovation, the Indian Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has drafted the Indian Telecommunications Bill 2022 (Bill). 

The Bill consolidates three separate acts that govern the telecommunications sector — Indian Telegraph Act 1885, Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act 1933, and The Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Protection) Act 1950. The Bill provides adequate provisions to avoid any possible disruption and administrative orders under the existing laws will continue until they are superseded by the new law. 

To ensure a level playing field and ensure fair competition, one of the key changes is the inclusion of over-the-top communication services in the definition of telecommunication services. The Bill says that OTT companies providing calling and messaging services will be subject to the same licensing regime as any other telecommunications operator. The DoT will remain responsible for governing the telecommunications sector, granting licenses for various telecommunications services and collecting fees. 

Except for certain specified functions relating to government and public interest, the Bill provides for assignment of spectrum primarily through auction and establishes an enabling framework for optimal utilization of this scarce resource. 

The Bill also states the punitive actions that Central Government of India can take in case of breach of terms and conditions of a license, registration, authorization or assignment granted. However, the Bill proposes to dilute the powers and functions currently vested with the Telecommunications Authority of India, one of the several regulators of the telecommunications sector in the country currently responsible for issuing orders, recommendations, and directions on various telecommunications matters, and transform it into a consultative body.  

The Bill is expected to be converted into law in the next six to ten months. The last date for public comment on the draft is October 20. If you are interested in learning more about the new draft regulatory framework in India, contact Chrystel Erotokritou, Compliance Manager, Access Partnership. 

Related Articles

Can Asia artificially think?

Can Asia artificially think?

What ChatGPT really tells us about the future economy.  News of ChatGPT’s capabilities has captured the public imagination. Our algorithmically...

7 Feb 2023 Opinion
Access Alert | Safer Internet Day 2023 – Recent Policy Developments in Content Moderation

Access Alert | Safer Internet Day 2023 – Recent Policy Developments in Content Moderation

In celebration of the 20th edition of Safer Internet Day on 7 February 2023, the Fair Tech Institute has reviewed...

6 Feb 2023 Opinion
Tech Policy Trends 2023 | Infrastructure and supply chain security in the EU

Tech Policy Trends 2023 | Infrastructure and supply chain security in the EU

Since Ursula von der Leyen introduced the idea of leading a ‘Geopolitical Commission’ in 2019, the EU has placed security...

6 Feb 2023 Opinion
Access Alert | Canada’s Public Consultation on a Modern Regulatory Framework for Space

Access Alert | Canada’s Public Consultation on a Modern Regulatory Framework for Space

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has launched a public consultation on various aspects of the Canadian national space regulatory framework....

1 Feb 2023 Opinion