Regulators

TRAI extends deadline for comments on OTT consultation paper

TRAI released the paper on OTT expanding its definition last month

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MUMBAI: India’s telecom and broadcast regulator TRAI released a new consultation paper last month on OTT services seeking to expand the definition of the sector and also the regulator’s jurisdiction over a sector till now “unregulated”. The deadline for receiving comments on the consultation paper has been extended up to 7 January 2019 and counter comments by 21 January.

Earlier dates for the comments and counter comments on the issues raised by the paper were 10 December and 24 December respectively. As TRAI said in a release, the deadline has been extended on request from the stakeholders.

“Would inter-operability among OTT services and also inter-operatability of their services with TSPs services promote competition and benefit the users? What measures may be taken, if any, to promote such competition? Please justify your answer with reasons.” Questions like these in the paper hint that the government and the regulator are looking at regulations for the OTT services that would include both audio and video services.

Earlier, the authority issued a consultation paper on  Regulatory Framework for Over-the-top (OTT) services on the 27 March 2015, which also included questions on the principles of net neutrality, the reasonableness of traffic management practices, non-price based discrimination of services and transparency requirements. Due to a large number of issues and their complexity, it became difficult to deliberate upon and conclude all of them together. Therefore, the authority decided to deal with related issues in separate parts, keeping a focus on a core set of issues each time.

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