Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday said over-the-top (OTT) communication services do not currently need a regulatory framework, casting aside the threat of potential restrictions on platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Google.
OTT services refer to applications where providers deliver audio, video and other media over the internet, bypassing the traditional telecom operators.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), in March 2016, had sought the recommendations of the TRAI on Net Neutrality and other related aspects such as economic, security and privacy issues, and regulatory framework for OTT services similar to services provided by Telecom Service Providers (TSPs).
After a discussion with various stakeholders, the TRAI noted that with the increase in the usage of OTT, traffic of telecom services providers has also grown. Various studies on appropriate business models are already under consideration in various jurisdictions and it is emerging.
“It is not an opportune moment to recommend a comprehensive regulatory framework for various aspects of services referred to as OTT services, beyond the extant laws and regulations prescribed presently. The matter may be looked into afresh when more clarity emerges in international jurisdictions particularly the study undertaken by ITU (International Telecommunication Union)”, said the telecom watchdog.
“Therefore, any regulatory prescription in haste may leave adverse impact on industry as a whole. Accordingly, Authority is of the opinion that market forces may be allowed to respond to the situation without prescribing any regulatory intervention. In view of the above, the Authority recommends that Market forces may be allowed to respond to the situation without prescribing any regulatory intervention. However, developments shall be monitored and intervention as felt necessary shall be done at appropriate time”
TRIA further noted that the matter of privacy with regards to OTT services is being examined by various international jurisdictions and no satisfactory solution has emerged as yet.
Read the TRAI Recommendations here: