Recommendations on OTT communication apps soon

The Telecommunication Act 2023 removed the provision of regulation of OTT communication from its final version.
Recommendations on OTT communication apps soon

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is in the process of finalising its recommendations on whether over-the-top (OTT) communication apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal need to be regulated.

The regulatory body announced an open house discussion in next two to three months over the regulation of OTT communication apps. TRAI chairman Anil Kumar Lahoti, on the sidelines of an event on Friday, dismissed that current OTT paper has become infructuous in the wake of notification of the Telecom Act.

The Telecommunication Act 2023 removed the provision of regulation of OTT communication from its final version. “I know, we have an ongoing consultation on OTT communications. It is just that in last few months we are burning the midnight oil, clearing the number of references pending with us, and OTT communication is also in the line,” said Lahoti.

In July 2023, TRAI had come up with a consultation paper on the regulatory mechanism for OTT communication services, after the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) asked the agency to reconsider its 2020 recommendations. In its 2020 recommendation, TRAI had proposed no regulation OTT services. In December 2023, telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said OTT players or applications won’t be covered under the new telecom bill and will continue to be regulated by the IT Act of 2000.

When asked if the consultation paper was infructuous after enacting the Telecom Act, Lahoti answered in the negative. He said the OTT consultation was initiated after the recommendation of a Parliamentary panel so this consultation will be completed.

“The OTT consultation was initiated after the recommendation of a Parliamentary panel so this consultation will be completed, and we will give our recommendation... which Act it becomes a part of and which ministry, or which regulator deals with it, is a separate matter,” he said. He also mentioned that TRAI is dealing with OTT communication as a subject.

Open house discussion

Regulatory body TRAI announced an open house discussion in next two to three months over the regulation of OTT communication apps. TRAI chairman Anil Kumar Lahoti, on the sidelines of an event on Friday, dismissed that current OTT paper has become infructuous in the wake of notification of the Telecom Act

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