What's New :
UPSC CSE Result 2023.Download toppers list

Telecommunications Bill, 2023 passed in LokSabha

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    24th Dec, 2023

Context

The New telecommunications Bill 2023 has been introduced in parliament to overhaul Telecom sector in India w.r.t. changing global landscape: 6G, Internet revolution etc.

  • In the dynamic landscape of global technology governance, the recent Telecommunications Bill, 2023 in India stands as a pivotal moment.
  • This comprehensive legislation not only marks a significant departure from archaic laws dating back to the colonial era but also addresses critical facets of the evolving telecommunications sector.

Background

  • The Telecommunications Bill, 2023 replaces the antiquated Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, along with the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933, and the Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1950.
  • It also brings about crucial amendments to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Act, 1997, ushering in a new era of regulatory frameworks and governance.

Structural Changes and Authorization:

  • A significant shift lies in the move from a licensing regime to an authorization system.
  • The Bill streamlines the cumbersome licensing processes, consolidating more than 100 types of licenses into a single authorization for telecom operators and service providers.
  • This and foster a more efficient and transparent system. structural change aims to simplify the regulatory landscape

Spectrum Assignment and Allocation:

  • The Bill introduces a preference for spectrum assignment through auctions, emphasizing transparency and market-driven allocation.
  • However, exceptions exist for certain sectors such as metro rails, community radio, defense, railways, and police, where administrative allocation will be employed.
  • The legislation also allows for the repurposing of spectrum, enabling its use for different technologies, promoting flexibility and optimal utilization.

Security and Interception Measures:

  • In the context of national security and public safety, the Bill grants the government the power of interception, monitoring, and blocking of messages on telecom networks.
  • It upholds the "trusted sources" regime, established after the 2020 Indo–Chinese border skirmishes, and introduces a voluntary undertaking system for telecom operators to self-report compliance lapses.
  • The legislation maintains provisions for lawful interception and surveillance of telecom communications, further fortifying security measures.

Right of Way and User Protection:

  • The Bill introduces provisions for telecom infrastructure providers to seek a right of way over public or private property, promoting the establishment of robust telecom networks.
  • Additionally, it emphasizes user protection measures, including biometric authentication for customers, aimed at curbing spam calls and messages.
  • The central government may prescribe standards and assessments for telecom equipment, infrastructure, networks, and services.

Satellite Spectrum Allotment and Global Harmonization:

  • A notable aspect of the Bill is its opening of doors for satellite spectrum allotments, aligning with global norms.
  • This move is expected to benefit satellite internet providers, including Bharti-backed OneWeb and SpaceX'sStarlink.
  • The decision to allocate satellite spectrum through an administrative method is seen as a strategic choice to foster international cooperation, innovation, and competitiveness.

Digital Bharat Nidhi and Universal Service Obligation Fund:

  • The Bill introduces the Digital Bharat Nidhi, formerly known as the Universal Service Obligation Fund, reflecting a commitment to extending telecom services to underserved areas.
  • This renaming aligns with the evolving digital landscape and underscores the fund's expanded scope, now including research and development activities.

Concerns and Future Directions:

  • While the Telecommunications Bill, 2023 signifies a progressive leap in telecom regulation, concerns linger regarding its potential impact on internet-based communication platforms.
  • The broad definition of telecommunication services has sparked debates about the inclusion of online platforms, necessitating further consultations for clarity.

The enactment of the Telecommunications Bill, 2023 represents a landmark moment in India's journey toward a modernized regulatory framework for the telecommunications sector. Striking a balance between innovation and regulation, the legislation aims to propel the nation into a new era of digital connectivity, security, and global competitiveness. As the technological landscape continues to evolve, the implications of this comprehensive bill are poised to shape the future trajectory of telecommunications in India.

X

Verifying, please be patient.

Enquire Now