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Letting go of a chance to democratize telecom services

  • Published
    1st Oct, 2022


The draft Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022 (Telecom Bill) is out for public consultation. In its present form, its provisions appear to be stuck in the past.

A Repackaging:

  • Missed Opportunities: The draft of the Bill represents multiple missed opportunities for significant legislative reform in terms of democratization of telecommunication services.
  • New licensing regime: The Telecom Bill has stricter regulations and moves towards centralization of power by introducing licenses for telecommunication services.

Threat to innovation, privacy protection

  • Same service, Same rules: Treating OTT services as a ‘substitute’ for Telecom services must not be treated the same because both have different functionalities. It will only increase compliance and legal costs leaving a negative impact on innovation.
  • Privacy Concerns: By exercising its exclusive privilege to issue a license, the central government may ask the online service providers to store data locally. This discretion to the government may adversely affect the privacy of individuals.
  • Blow to end-to-end encryption (E2EE): By expanding the definition of telecommunication services, coupled with interception provisions is signalling a blow to end-to-end encryption (E2EE) in India.
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