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Telecom Bill 2023 passed by Lok Sabha; Here are 10 things you need to know

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The Indian Telecommunications Bill 2023, also known as the Telecom Bill 2023, was tabled by the Union Minister Ashwani Vaishnaw earlier today, and it has been passed by the Lok Sabha. The bill, which seeks to supersede the existing regulations, was presented and cleared during the Winter Session of Parliament. The new legislation is intended to serve as a replacement for three existing Acts: the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1933, and the Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act of 1950. The bill grants the government more power over telecom services in the interest of national security. Let us take a look at the major highlights of the bill and how it may shape the telecom industry in the coming years.

Indian Telecommunications Bill 2023: Highlights

1. The new bill aims to accelerate the deployment of telecom infrastructure, particularly for 5G, by implementing reforms. The proposed measures include exempting telecom networks installed on any property from claims, encumbrances, liquidation, or similar issues related to that property.

2. The bill gives the government the power to establish rules for the protection and assurance of cybersecurity in telecommunication networks and services in the interest of national security, emergency, or public interest.

3. The bill also takes action against spam calls. As per the bill, the registration of ?Do Not Disturb? or DND will get a legal mandate, thus ensuring the protection of consumers from unsolicited calls, messages, etc.

4. According to the bill, the press messages of correspondents accredited to the Centre or state governments shall not be intercepted or detained unless their transmission has been prohibited under rules applicable to public emergency, public order, etc.

5. As per the bill, the central government shall assign spectrum for telecommunication through auction except for entries listed in the First Schedule for which assignment shall be done by administrative process.

6. The bill also provides protective measures for telecom infrastructure and reinforces provision for smooth roll-out of networks, especially optical fibre cables.

7. The bill provides for the termination of spectrum assignment if the government determines that the assigned spectrum has remained unutilised without any sufficient reasons.

8. The government has proposed a cap of Rs. 5 crore on penalties imposed on telecom operators which was Rs. 50 crore earlier per circle implying a maximum penalty of around Rs. 1,100 crore on a telecom company.

9. The bill makes it mandatory for companies to issue SIMs after capturing verifiable biometric data of the applicant to prevent misuse of telecom resources.

10. In case a dispute arises between a user and an authorised entity providing telecom services, the central government has proposed that it will set up “one or more” online dispute resolution mechanisms to address the issue.

source by: Hindustan Times News

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