New Telecom Bill Likely To Be In Place In 6-10 Months, Says Ashwini Vaishnaw

New Telecom Bill Likely To Be In Place In 6-10 Months, Says Ashwini Vaishnaw

Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Friday said the new telecom Bill is expected to be in place in 6-10 months but the government is not in a hurry, the PTI reported. “Basis consultation process, we will create final draft. That draft will then go through committee processes of Parliament. Then it has to go (to) Parliament. I see a timeline of 6-10 months but we are not in a hurry,” Vaishnaw said when asked about a timeline for implementation of the final bill, according to the PTI report.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has set the deadline of October 20 on the draft Bill.

The Bill seeks to replace three laws: the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933 and the Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1950. However, with a view to ensuring smooth transition to the new framework and avoid any possible disruption, the bill provides for continuity of actions taken under the repealed laws. It also provides that rules under the repealed laws would continue till such time that new rules are formulated.

The Bill will push for a slew of reforms, including a separate set of rules to deal with insolvency for stressed telecom assets, easier merger and acquisition norms, and empowering the government to waive off dues of financially stressed telcos.

Under the new Bill, among many new internet-based services, the OTT platforms will be considered “telecommunication services”.

Besides OTTs, broadcasting services, electronic mail, voice mail, voice, video and data communication services, audiotex services, videotex services, fixed and mobile services, internet and broadband services, satellite-based communication services, internet-based communication services, in-flight and maritime connectivity services, interpersonal communications services, machine to machine communication services will be now considered as “telecommunication services”.

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The last date for sending comments, if any, on the Draft Bill is October 20, 2022, and they may be sent to naveen.kumar71@gov.in