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Home / Business / Trai says no plan to regulate OTTs

Trai says no plan to regulate OTTs

Telecom companies in India had long been demanding that OTT players be brought under the ambit of the regulatory framework
Skype, Viber, WhatsApp and Hike are some of the popular OTT services.

Our Special Correspondent   |   Mumbai   |   Published 15.09.20, 04:08 AM

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Monday said there is no need to regulate over-the-top (OTT) communication services at the moment. 

The regulator said that the time is not opportune to recommend a comprehensive regulatory framework for various aspects of OTT services beyond the laws and regulations prescribed currently, and decided against any immediate regulatory intervention.

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OTT services refer to applications and services that are accessible over the internet and ride on an operator’s network. Skype, Viber, WhatsApp and Hike are some of the popular OTT services.

The department of telecommunications had in March 2016 sought the recommendations of Trai on net neutrality and other related aspects such as economic, security and privacy issues, and regulatory framework for OTT services similar to services provided by telecom service providers. Trai had subsequently come out with a discussion paper on regulatory framework for OTT services in November 2018 where it had sought the industry’s views on multiple issues.

Releasing its recommendations on the regulatory framework for OTT communication services, Trai said the matter can be looked into afresh when more clarity emerges in international jurisdictions, particularly the study undertaken by the ITU (International Telecommunication Union). It added that no regulatory interventions are needed for privacy and security related issues of OTT services for now.

“It is not an opportune moment to recommend a comprehensive regulatory framework for various aspects of services referred to as OTT services, beyond the extant laws and regulations prescribed at present,” Trai said in a statement.

The authority added that market forces may be allowed to respond to the situation without prescribing any regulatory intervention. “However, developments shall be monitored and intervention as felt necessary shall be done at appropriate time,’’ it said.

Telecom companies in India had long been demanding that OTT players be brought under the ambit of the regulatory framework as they offer similar services without attached licensing obligations, conditions and levies (such as licence fee).



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