Telcos call for a particular body to control OTT and DTH services

Technology has made it difficult to distinguish between different types of services, leading the telecom industry to call for the creation of a single law to govern them all. In addition, the sector has pushed for legal stability and other supportive policies to make doing business easier.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) discussion procedure on the necessity for a new regulatory structure for telecommunication in India included input from telecom companies.

The telecom companies have reaffirmed their request for the regulation of over-the-top (OTT) messaging apps like WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, etc. It has been made clear that, while OTT players provide the same range of services to customers as telecom providers, they are not subject to the same norms and regulations.

The DoT agrees that OTT apps need to be controlled, and the unit is presently developing a process to create relevant legislation. In addition to requesting input from the telecom watchdog, a publication has previously announced that the DoT would shortly begin talks with the ministries of electronics and IT (MeitY) and data and broadcasting.

The telecom companies have also argued that since television, content, and telecom have combined to form one industry, a single Act should govern all three. Currently, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) is responsible for information, while Meity’s independent third-party rules control the internet and DoT’s mobile networks. Sometimes execution issues arise because there are so many different regulations.

The telecom companies desired legislative stability in addition to the Convergence Act to protect their ability to prepare for the future. While praising the right-of-way (RoW) guidelines that the DoT recently announced, the telcos request that there be some supporting conditions for their execution.