Television

Parliament panel has a close look at convergence bill

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The parliamentary standing committee on information technology has reportedly started its final deliberations on the Communications Convergence Bill.

The standing committee, headed by veteran parliamentarian Somnath Chatterjee, went into meetings yesterday and is expected to complete the job of going over the bill with a fine tooth comb today, reports state. 

The Convergence Bill calls for the setting up of a common regulatory authority for information technology, communications and broadcasting. It provides for the setting up of a super-regulator - the Communication Commission of India (CCI) - converging the existing regulatory authorities like the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) into the new entity. 

The bill also seeks to change the licensing regime and limit the number of license categories to five  network infrastructure facilities, networking services, network application services, content application services and value-added network application services. It is still not clear how the existing licencees will be accommodated in the new regime.

Once the standing committee vets the bill, it will be forwarded for debate to the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament).

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