Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has removed over-the-top (OTT) players, or apps, from the definition of telecommunication services in the Telecom Bill, giving huge relief to communication service providers such as WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram, which will thus remain out of telecom regulation.
The DoT believes the existing definition under Indian Telegraph Act is good enough and there is no need to specifically put OTT in the new Bill. «We (DoT) don't have any intent to regulate OTT.
No revenue share, nothing at all,» said an official.
As per the Telegraph Act, a «telegraph» means any appliance, instrument, material or apparatus used or capable of use for transmission or reception of signs, signals, writing, images and sounds or intelligence of any nature by wire, visual or other electro-magnetic emissions, radio waves or Hertzian waves, galvanic, electric or magnetic means.
While the new Bill seeks to replace the Telegraph Act, it retains the definition of telegraph.
ET had reported in its August 5 edition about DoT's move to remove OTT from the Telecom Bill. The Bill is expected to be tabled in the winter session of Parliament, a second official said.
«Some work is going on in terms of the language, etc. Some elements needed some serious thinking, keeping in mind the Supreme Court judgment (around allocation of scarce natural resources like spectrum).»
The ministry of electronics and IT will be the nodal ministry to regulate OTT players, the official said.