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India’s regulator issues OTT consultation

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has re-started the debate on regulating over the top (OTT) services such as WhatsApp and Skype by issuing a consultation paper, “Regulatory framework for OTT communication services”. “This consultation paper seeks to analyse and discuss the implications of the growth of OTT services… the relationship between TSPs [telecoms service providers] and OTT players, whether any change is required in the current regulatory framework and the manner in which such changes should be effected,” the regulator says. Among other things, TRAI has sought comments from stakeholders on whether regulatory or licensing imbalance is impacting investments in the telecom networks, if there is any issue of a non-level playing field between OTT providers and TSPs, and any issues related to lawful interception of OTT communications that are required to be resolved in the interest of national security. TRAI has also sought to know which OTT services could be regarded the same or similar to the services provided by TSPs. TRAI had earlier issued a consultation paper on regulatory framework for OTT services in March 2015. This included questions on the principles of net neutrality and traffic management practices. “Due to the large number of issues and their complexity, it became difficult to deliberate upon and conclude all of them together. Therefore, the authority decided to deal with related issues in separate parts,” TRAI said. “The current consultation is not intended to revisit regulations or recommendations given by the authority earlier on OTT, which had broader implications and were therefore concluded first following due consultation and diligence.” Comments on the issues raised in the consultation paper are invited from the stakeholders by 10 December 2018 and counter comments, if any, by 24 December. The consultation here.

  • Tuesday, 20 November 2018

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