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Soon, suggestions for OTT communication applications

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is now in the process of completing its recommendations about the need of regulating over-the-top (OTT) communication apps such as Signal, Telegram, and WhatsApp.

 

The regulatory agency said that it would have an open house debate about OTT communication app regulation over the next two to three months. Anil Kumar Lahoti, the head of TRAI, denied on the fringes of an event on Friday that the Telecom Act’s notice has rendered the existing OTT document infructuous.

The regulation of over-the-top (OTT) communication was eliminated from the final version of the Telecommunication Act 2023. “I am aware that we are now doing OTT communications consultations. Simply said, over the last several months, we have been working around the clock to go through as many references as possible, and OTT communication is also on the horizon,” Lahoti stated.

Following a request from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for TRAI to reevaluate its 2020 proposals, the agency produced a consultation paper in July 2023 about the regulatory framework for over-the-top (OTT) communication services. TRAI did not advocate regulating over-the-top (OTT) services in its 2020 report. The IT Act of 2000 will continue to govern over-the-top (OTT) players and apps, according to telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s statement in December 2023.

Lahoti said no when asked whether the consultation document was still valid after the Telecom Act was passed. He said that as the OTT consultation was started on the suggestion of a parliamentary panel, it would be finished.

“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 added. “The OTT consultation was initiated after the recommendation of a Parliamentary panel.” Additionally, he noted that OTT communication is a topic that TRAI deals with.

Open-house conversation

The regulatory authority TRAI said that it would have an open house debate about OTT communication app regulation over the next two to three months. At a Friday event, TRAI Chairman Anil Kumar Lahoti refuted the claim that the Telecom Act’s announcement has rendered the present OTT document infructuous.

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