Telecom Act comes into effect; 39 sections implemented in 1st phase

The Act grants the government authority to take over control and management of any or all telecommunication services or networks in the interest of national security, public safety, friendly relations with foreign states, or for the sovereignty and integrity of India.
Telecom Act comes into effect;  39 sections implemented in 1st phase

NEW DELHI: The Telecommunications Act, 2023, which introduces significant changes to India’s telecom laws, has taken effect from Wednesday. This new legislation replaces the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885 and the Indian Wireless Telegraph Act of 1933, reflecting substantial technological advancements in the telecommunications sector.

“Telecommunications Act, 2023 (44 of 2023), the central government hereby appoints the 26th Day of June 2024, as the date on which the provisions of Sections 1, 2, 10 to 30, 42 to 44, 46, 47, 50 to 58, 61 and 62 of the said Act shall come into force,” the notification said.

The Act grants the government authority to take over control and management of any or all telecommunication services or networks in the interest of national security, public safety, friendly relations with foreign states, or for the sovereignty and integrity of India.

The government can also intercept messages if there’s a threat to law and order. The Act addresses the issue of unsolicited commercial messages. Operators sending such messages without user consent could face fines up to Rs 2 lakh and might even be banned from providing services.

People can now have up to nine SIM cards registered in their name. However, residents of Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast may have a lower limit due to specific regional regulations. Violations of these limits will result in hefty fines: Rs 50,000 for first breach and Rs 2 lakh for subsequent breaches.

The Act streamlines the process for telecom companies to install mobile towers or lay telecom cables on private property. This provision ensures the expansion and maintenance of telecom infrastructure, deemed necessary for improved connectivity.

The Telecommunications Act, 2023, was passed by the Parliament in December 2023, received the assent of the President of India on 24.12.2023 and was published in the official Gazette on the same date.

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