TRAI recommends no intervention in OTT segment for now

15 Sep 2020

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has published its recommendations on a potential regulatory framework for over-the-top (OTT) communication services, proposing that the segment remains free of regulatory intervention for the time being. The TRAI proposed that market forces ‘be allowed to respond to the situation without prescribing any regulatory intervention’ but added that developments should be monitored, with the possibility of future intervention if deemed necessary. Similarly, the watchdog ruled out any intervention concerning issues relating to privacy and security. Finally, regarding a comprehensive regulatory framework for OTT services, the TRAI noted that ‘it is not an opportune moment’ to recommend such measures beyond the current laws and regulations, as there is insufficient information on the subject. Elaborating on its recommendation, the TRAI explained: ‘While few jurisdictions have started exploring possibilities to regulate some aspects of a few OTT services through legal and technical measures but these efforts are yet in nascent stage and the overwhelming majority of jurisdictions and the ITU are still studying various aspects of OTTs. Since ITU deliberations are also at study level, therefore conclusions may not be drawn regarding the regulatory framework of OTT services.’

In a separate document, the watchdog has also published recommendations relating to the regulation of cloud services, advocating a ‘light-touch regulatory framework’. The TRAI recommended the establishment of an industry body to work in conjunction with the TRAI and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on regulation.