Over-the-top (OTT) platforms like Whatsapp, Signal and Facebook may not need a license to operate in India. But these platforms need to pay more attention to user protection rules
Preliminary discussions between the government and industry stakeholders on the telecommunications bill have led to an understanding that user protection provisions should be prioritized within the law, while discussions will continue on light touch norms for such platforms offering communications services over the internet, he said. Livemint report.
“What we now understand is that people (OTTs) are well aware of the rules regarding user protection … they did not want to get a license and that is not our intention,” the report said, according to officials.
According to another official close to the matter, the government is not looking to impose heavy regulations on OTTs, but to ensure consumer rights and security of the state.
“We do not charge a license fee for OTT; This was not the goal,” the official said.
Leading telecom players such as Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have been pleading with the government to bring OTTs under a license regime and hence make them liable to pay fees, charges and taxes currently levied on operators.
Telcos have also urged the government to ensure that OTTs comply with security requirements, statutory blocking and other regulatory obligations.
A new, clearer definition of OTT communication services has been sought by telcos in the new telecom bill.