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OTT comes under definition of telecom, Union govt proposes in draft Bill


The draft of the proposed Telecommunication Bill was shared by Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on various social media platforms and invited public comments.
The Union government on Wednesday, September 21, released the draft Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022, under which it has proposed a provision to waive off fees and penalty of telecom and internet service providers. The ministry has proposed a provision for refund of fees in case a telecom or internet provider surrenders their licence. Sharing a link of the draft Bill on social media, Union Telecom Minister Ashwini Viashnaw said, “Seeking your views on the draft Indian Telecom Bill 2022.” The last date for public comment on the draft is October 20.
The draft proposes that the definition of ‘telecommunication’ be expanded to include over-the-top (OTT) services, satellite-based communication services, internet-based communication services, in-flight and maritime connectivity services, interpersonal communications services, and machine-to-machine communication services. 
According to the draft, the Union government may “waive in part or full any fee, including entry fees, licence fees, registrations fees or any other fees or charges, interest, additional charges or penalty” for any licence holder or registered entity under the telecom rules. The Bill proposes to exempt “press messages that are intended to be published in India” of correspondents accredited to the Union or state government from interception.
However, the exemption will not be granted in case of any public emergency or in the interest of the public safety, sovereignty, integrity or security of India, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, or to prevent incitement to an offence, according to the draft. In such cases, the messages sent or received by them shall be intercepted, detained or disclosed to the authorised officers, according to the draft Bill.
The draft Bill says that the Union government may suspend or prohibit the use of specified telecommunication equipment from specified persons or countries in the event of war, in the interest of national security or to maintain friendly relations with foreign states.

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