The Telecommunications Bill 2023 aims to replace the 138 years old Indian Telegraph Act that governs the telecom sector

According to sources, the government can present the Telecommunications Bill 2023 in the Lok Sabha on Monday. The aim of the Telecommunications Bill 2023 is to amend the 138-year-old Indian Telegraph Act that currently regulates the telecommunications sector.

An insider revealed, “The President has been informed about the Telecommunications Bill 2023. It is likely to be presented in the Lok Sabha on Monday, December 18.”

The Cabinet approved this bill in August.

The draft Telecommunications Bill 2023, set to be released in 2023, proposed bringing over-the-top or internet-based calling and messaging apps under the definition of telecommunications to enhance user security.

The bill also suggested putting restrictions on the power of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), a proposal that raised concerns among industry players.

According to government officials, issues related to over-the-top players and matters involving TRAI were resolved before obtaining Cabinet approval.

The proposal aimed to simplify certain rules in the event of a company surrendering its permit, such as refunding fees for licenses, registration, etc.

In the new bill, the government is empowered to waive charges such as entry fees, license fees, fines, etc., to ensure consumer interests, promote competition in the market, ensure availability or continuity of telecommunications networks, and ensure national security.

In a significant move towards modernizing the telecommunications sector, the government is poised to introduce the Telecommunications Bill 2023 in the Lok Sabha on Monday. The proposed legislation aims to overhaul the archaic Indian Telegraph Act, which has governed the telecommunications landscape for 138 years. The bill, approved by the Cabinet in August, garnered attention for its forward-looking provisions.

The draft, expected to be unveiled in 2023, advocates for expanding the definition of telecommunications to include internet-based calling and messaging applications. This strategic move seeks to enhance user security in an era dominated by digital communication platforms. The bill also addresses concerns related to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), with the industry expressing reservations about potential constraints on TRAI’s authority.

Notably, discussions surrounding over-the-top players and TRAI-related issues were reportedly resolved prior to Cabinet approval, showcasing a collaborative approach to legislative developments. The proposed changes include streamlining procedures for companies surrendering permits, easing regulations on permit surrender, and considering fee refunds for licenses and registrations.

Beyond these technicalities, the Telecommunications Bill 2023 empowers the government to waive various charges—such as entry fees, license fees, and fines—underscoring a commitment to consumer interests, fostering market competition, ensuring the robustness of telecommunications networks, and safeguarding national security. This multifaceted approach reflects a holistic vision for the future of telecommunications regulation in India.

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