An independent thinktank — Broadband India Forum, whose members include Amazon, Disney and Netflix — on Monday said Over The Top (OTT) players are adequately regulated under the IT Act, 2000 as they opposed the selective ban of OTT services.
The forum was giving their inputs to a consultation paper of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on the regulatory framework for OTT communication services and the selective banning of OTT services.
The consultation paper was floated on July 7, 2023, and the last date of submission of comments has been extended till September 15.
The forum said existing laws, including the IT Act and the Consumer Protection Act of 2019, sufficiently address the regulatory, economic, security, privacy, safety, and consumer grievance aspects of OTT services.
Further, government agencies possess the necessary powers under section 69, 69A, and 69B of the IT Act for lawful interception, eliminating the need for extra regulatory burdens.
The forum has also firmly opposed any selective banning of OTT services, stating that such measures would not pass the scrutiny of fundamental rights.
The forum further said there is a distinction between OTT services and telecommunication service providers and they do not belong to the same relevant market. While OTTs operate as applications, TSPs provide network infrastructure.
"OTTs have significantly enhanced accessibility to digital tools and amenities, enriching lives and empowering individuals by boosting productivity and socio-economic standing. This has resulted in massive economic spill-over effects, contributing to the nation's prosperity," Broadband India Forum's president
T.V. Ramachandran said.
In the consultation paper Trai had observed that specific OTT applications and websites could be utilised by anti-national elements, making selective banning of specific OTT applications preferable to a complete shutdown.
Trai has also observed that area specific bans need to be carried out at network level, for which methods need to be developed.