The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday released a 42-page 'Consultation Paper on Regulatory Framework for Over-the-top (OTT) Communication Services'. The document can be read here. OTT Services refer to applications and services that are accessible over the internet. The TRAI paper notes that there is no globally accepted definition of OTT, and that OTTs offering services such as voice calls and messaging overlap with services offered by Telecom Service Providers (TSPs). This, therefore, may include but would not be limited to Amazon Prime, Netflix, HotStar (read more on OTT below). In the consultation paper, TRAI has focused on the definition, regulatory issues and economic concerns pertaining to OTT services which can be regarded same or similar to the services provided by Telecom Service Providers (TSPs). According to a statement issued by TRAI, the consultation paper is aimed at analyzing and discussing: the implications of the growth of OTTs; the relationship between OTT players and TSPs and similarity between services provided by the TSPs and OTT players; changes that may be required in the current regulatory framework to govern these entities and the manner in which such changes should be effected. DEADLINE TRAI has asked for comments on the issues raised in the consultation paper by December 10, 2018, while the deadline to submit counter comments is December 24, 2018. The comments may be sent on email@example.com. Telecom companies in India have long been demanding that OTT players be regulated, as they offer similar services without the attendant licencing obligations, conditions and levies…
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