Telecommunications Bill 2023: Major Telecom Reform in India
Overview: The Telecommunications Bill, 2023, introduced in the Lok Sabha, is a landmark legislation aimed at overhauling India's telecom regulations. This Bill is set to replace the Telegraph Act of 1885, marking a comprehensive update in 138 years.
Key Aspects of the Bill:
1. Consolidation of Regulations: It integrates various aspects such as spectrum rules, right of way, and dispute resolution into a single statute.
2. Authorisations Over Licensing: The Bill shifts from traditional licensing to "authorisations" for telecom operators, covering a broad range of services including Internetbased communications.
3. National Frequency Allocation Plan: This plan, previously an administrative document, gains statutory force, outlining spectrum allocation with auctions as the preferred method.
4. Lawful Interception and Surveillance: Provisions from the previous act for surveillance of telecom communications are retained.
5. RightofWay Laws Update: Empowers local authorities for better dispute resolution in telecom infrastructure deployment.
6. Biometric Authentication for Customers: A new requirement aimed at curbing spam calls and messages, with specifics to be notified later.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has expressed positive views, expecting the Bill to accelerate digital connectivity across the nation.
Significance: This Bill represents a significant step in modernizing and streamlining India's telecommunications framework, addressing the evolving landscape of digital communications and infrastructure needs.
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