Telecom bill’s path to pave the way: Telecom reforms 2.0 to be released soon

Date:

On the draft Telecom Bill, the minister said he has received feedback on whether over-the-top (OTT) services should be covered as part of telecom services and be brought under licensing.

The government will come out with a second set of reforms for the telecom sector, which will include rationalisation of levies and restructuring of the licensing regime, after the finalisation and passage of the new Telecom Bill, communications minister Ashwini Vaishnav said on Sunday.

Our next set of telecom reforms will happen immediately after the Telecom Bill is enacted. We will be significantly simplifying the licensing regime said the minister on the second day of the ongoing India Mobile Congress.

The industry has long been demanding a reduction in the levies on it. Currently, various levies account for 30% of the total revenues of the operators.

Reduction in license fees is another demand of the industry. Currently, operators pay 8% of their adjusted gross revenue as a license fee. Of this 5% goes into the universal service obligation fund (USOF) and the balance 3% to the exchequer. 

The industry has demanded that 49% of USOF be unutilised, this levy should either be reduced or frozen till the funds are fully utilised.

The reforms also included a moratorium on regulatory dues of telecom operators, rationalisation of adjusted gross revenues and bank guarantees, and allowing 100% foreign direct investment through the automatic route.

We addressed the most urgent issues in September last year, then we looked at the WPC (wireless planning commission) reforms. The reforms related to the RoW (right of way norms) have been dealt with in the Telecom Bill said Vaishnaw.

On the draft Telecom Bill, the minister said he has received feedback on whether over-the-top (OTT) services should be covered as part of telecom services and be brought under licensing.

Immediately after IMC (India Mobile Congress), we will have a roundtable with industry and other stakeholders to discuss the final draft of the Telecom Bill,” Vaishnaw said.

In the draft Bill, the government has proposed regulations for OTT services provided by the likes of WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal.

Last month, the minister clarified that the government will have light-touch regulations for OTTs.

Sponsored

Keyur Desai
Keyur Desai
Content Writer | Journalism Intern at Asiana Times

Author
Latest

Technology

Business

Entertainment

Share post:

Subscribe

World News

Editor's Choice

Explained: What is moonlighting?
Put simply, moonlighting means taking up a second job or multiple other work assignments apart from an employee's full-time job. This practice is referred to as moonlighting. In other words, it can be termed as dual employment. What is the whole story? Moonlighting is a heated debate topic among Indians, especially Information Technology(IT) sector. So, the moonlighting story popped up in...

Popular