“Experts believe that additional regulation of OTTs [over the top platforms] through proposed means like licensing, would potentially stifle innovation and hinder economic growth, and could also have implications for privacy and data protection of consumers,” CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training argues in its submission to TRAI’s consultation on the regulation and selective banning of online communication services. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released a consultation paper on the regulation of OTT communication services (like Whatsapp, Telegram, etc.) in July this year. In the paper, the authority discussed ideas such as charging communication platforms a network fee for their use of telcos’ infrastructure. In its submission to the consultation, CUTS pointed out that OTT platforms in India are already regulated under the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) and the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023, and will also be regulated under the upcoming Digital India Act. “Further regulation will lead to increasing the cost of compliance and business uncertainty, which will have an indirect impact on consumers,” it explained. Besides its individual submission, CUTS, along with 10 other consumer organizations, wrote to TRAI saying that the regulation of OTT services could have negative repercussions for customers. Also Read: A Summary: TRAI Releases Consultation Paper On Calling And Messaging App Regulation Here's a round-up of the key issues that consumer organizations have highlighted so far. Communication platforms are not substitutes for telcos: “While there are demands of ‘same services, same rules’, based on the idea…
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