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HomeTechRevised draft Telecom Bill to be released by Dec-end

Revised draft Telecom Bill to be released by Dec-end

The revised draft of the new Telecom Bill is set to be released by late December or by the new year. Top officials at the Department of Telecommunications told businessline that the Ministry would take a few more weeks to compile recommendations from references and incorporate them into the new draft. 

The draft Telecom Bill was released on September 21 this year. It met with significant backlash for its proposals to bring regulation of Internet OTTs under the ambit of the Ministry of Communications. Other provisos of the Bill contended by both businesses and civil society include the Bill’s move to mandate caller ID display or making KYC disclosure on internet communication. The draft Bill also does not limit the Centre’s powers to impose internet shutdowns at will. 

Behind the scenes, OTT players are trying to persuade the DoT to keep their regulations under the purview of the Ministry of IT and Electronics. Any new provisos for further regulations should be introduced under the IT act, according to tech companies. Telcos have had a more favourable stance toward the bill, especially as it endeavours to license OTT players who utilise the operators’ network to provide communication services, undercutting the voice and text services provided by the TSPs. 

The draft bill received an overwhelming response on public consultation. Over 900 respondents participated in the consultation process. Interested industry associations, including BIF, NASSCOM and COAI, also met with Minister of Communications Ashwini Vaishnaw regarding the bill. DoT is tight-lipped about the the modifications it will make to the new draft and to what extent it will incorporate industry feedback.

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