Telecommunications

Explanatory note to Telecom Bill compares Spectrum to Atma

Center Believes India Needs a Legal Framework Fit for 21st Century Realities, Explanatory Note to Bill Proposed to Be Named Indian Telecommunications Bill, 2022

New Delhi: The Ministry of Telecommunications presented a new bill. Through this bill, the government seeks to replace the existing legal framework governing telecommunications in India. In this bill, the spectrum has been compared to ‘Atma.’

He states, “In a way, the spectrum is similar to atma, which is ajar, amar as described in Shrimad Bhagwad Gita. Like the atma, the specter also has no physical form, but is omnipresent.

Explanatory Note to the Indian Telecommunications Bill, 2022

The government, through the new bill, seeks to consolidate the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885, the Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1933 and the Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act of 1950. The Center believes that India needs a legal framework adapted to the realities of the 21st century. century explanatory note to the proposed bill to be named the Indian Telecommunications Bill, 2022, said.

“The existing regulatory framework for the telecommunications sector is based on the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. The nature of telecommunications, its use and technologies have undergone a massive change since the era of the ‘telegraph’. The world has ceased to ‘use the “telegraph” in 2013,” the explanatory note reads.
He said the world is now in the era of new technologies such as 4G and 5G, Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, M2M communications and mobile edge computing. With 117 million subscribers, India is the second largest telecommunications ecosystem in the world.

The telecommunications sector employs more than 4 million people and contributes around 8% of the country’s GDP, the note said. The Ministry of Communications has launched a public consultation process to develop a modern and future-ready legal framework. In July 2022, a consultation paper on the “need for a new legal framework governing telecommunications in India” was released and comments were invited.
The consultation document explained the existing legal framework and the issues associated with it. The consultation document highlighted developments in telecommunications regulation in other countries.
Next, comments were received from various stakeholders and industry associations.

The ministry then carefully considered the feedback and the following key themes emerged:

* Recognition and acknowledgment of the need for a new legal framework ready for the future;

* The need to update the nomenclature and definitions of relevant terms in the telecommunications legal framework; and play to ensure the regular deployment of new telecommunications technologies;

* Need for legal certainty regarding spectrum management, including issues relating to use, allocation and allocation, based on the underlying principle that spectrum is a natural resource that must be allocated in the way that best serves the common good;

* Alignment of telecommunications standards with international standards and best practices; * Importance of cybersecurity, national security and public safety concerns, while ensuring constitutional and procedural safeguards;

* Need for a separate insolvency framework that allows the continuity of the provision of telecommunications services, as long as the holder pays all the contributions; and

* Need to streamline the sanctions framework, with specific penalties clearly linked to the nature of the offense and the seriousness of the offence.

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During the preparation of the draft, relevant legislations in Australia, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan and the United States of America were also reviewed in detail, the government said.
The bill indicates that, considering the spectrum as a precious and inexhaustible natural resource, an element of public good, it is essential to ensure efficient management and use of the spectrum.

This new bill will consolidate and amend the laws governing the provision, development, expansion and operation of telecommunications services, telecommunications networks and telecommunications infrastructure, as well as the allocation of spectrum.

Under the new bill, among many new Internet-based services, OTT platforms will be considered “telecommunications services”.

In addition to OTT, broadcasting services, email, voicemail, voice, video and data communication services, audiotex services, videotex services, fixed and mobile services, Internet and broadband services, satellite communication services, Internet communication services, air and maritime connectivity services, interpersonal communication services, machine-to-machine communication services will henceforth be considered as “telecommunications services”.

The bill also stipulates that the central government shall have the exclusive privilege to provide telecommunications services, to establish, operate, maintain and expand the telecommunications network and telecommunications infrastructure, and to use , allocate and allocate spectrum.

The deadline for sending comments, if any, on the draft law is 20 October 2022, and they can be sent to [email protected]

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