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TRAI Convergence consultation: Is there a need for a separate convergence framework?

Key points raised in submissions to TRAI in response to its consultation on a converged regulator for broadcasting and telecommunication services

“It must be noted that a converged regulator may lead to jurisdictional conflicts which may be (a) cause for uncertainty for businesses and also result in potential legal challenges,” reads the submission by the Internet And Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), in response to the regulator's consultation on Convergence. The submission addresses the question raised by the telecom regulator in the consultation, about whether there should be a converged regulator and a regulation with a specific focus on enabling the convergence of broadcasting and telecommunication services. The changes to a regulatory framework are worth the risk only if "long-term benefits" outweigh "immediate uncertainty and disruption" that may be caused as a result of such a change, according to a submission by the Broadband India Forum (BIF), adding that a "unified regulatory structure: does not guarantee optimal regulation by itself". There is no need of a converged code or regulator, but better coordination, as per NASSCOM's submission, which pointed out that the TRAI does not provide a litany of “specific harms or market failure” caused by the existing frameworks. They added that the paper does not list the possible benefits of a converged ecosystem. Why it matters: A key question in Internet regulation is whether there should be a single regulation and a single regulator, especially for content and carriage, or whether there should be sectoral regulation. The convergence of broadcast and telecom would mean the creation of an OFCOM UK like entity in India, and a…

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I cover several beats such as Crypto, Telecom, and OTT at MediaNama. I can be found loitering at my local theatre when I am off work consuming movies by the dozen.

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