3 more legislations coming for digital regulatory framework

Draft telecommunication bill says in the event of insolvency, spectrum assigned to the company will go back to the Government

September 23, 2022 8:27 IST | India Infoline News Service

Ashwini Vaishnaw, the minister of communications, announced on Thursday that the government would introduce at least three additional pieces of legislation to bring the nation's whole digital regulatory framework up to par with international norms. Reforms to licensing will first be implemented after the Telecommunications Act is passed.

"We are proceeding extremely methodically, one step at a time. Vaishnaw stated at a Public Affairs Forum of India (PAFI) event that by the end of that period, we should see India's telecom sector as one of the best in the world.

When the government announced a host of structural reforms in September of last year, including a redefinition of adjusted gross revenue (AGR), the reform process for the telecom industry officially began. The Wireless Promotion and Coordination (WPC) wing underwent modifications after it, and more recently, the right of way rules (RoW).

The fourth set of reforms, which will be followed by licensing reforms, is the passage of the Telecommunications Act.

Vaishnaw's response was in response to a query regarding the draft Indian Telecommunications Bill 2022, which was made available for public comment late on Wednesday. The law has been referred to as "reformative" by mobile phone carriers.

Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea are the three private carriers in India that are represented by COAI.

According to the draft Bill, depending on the circumstances, the spectrum can be allocated either administratively or through an auction. A company's fees, fines, and penalties may be waived under its planned terms if doing so is necessary to protect customers' interests or promote fair competition.

The scope of telecommunication services has also been expanded in the draft, including satellite-based communication services, Internet and broadband services, in-flight and maritime connectivity services, and over-the-top (OTT) applications like WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram. According to the draft document, any spectrum that has been assigned to a company will return to government control in the event of insolvency.

Stakeholders have until October 20 to submit their comments on the draft Bill that has been made available for public review.

For feedback and suggestions, write to us at editorial@iifl.com


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