TRAI to mull views on regulations for apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, X, Instagram

TRAI plans to regulate services like WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and X. Chairman of TRAI Anil Kumar Lahoti said that the telecom regulator will go ahead with open house discussions on regulatory mechanisms for OTT services.

By  Storyboard18May 18, 2024 11:25 AM
TRAI to mull views on regulations for apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, X, Instagram
Newly appointed Chairman, Anil Kumar Lahoti said the regulator will proceed with the process of holding open house discussions in around three months or so.

Over-the-top (OTT) communication apps such as WhatsApp, X, Facebook, Instagram and Signal may come under a regulatory regime as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) mulls recommendations on whether they need to be regulated or not. In a recently passed telecom act, the government had kept these services out of the regulatory regime.

In July 2023, TRAI released a consultation paper on the regulatory mechanism for OTT communication services and selective banning after the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) asked the agency to reconsider its 2020 recommendations. Back then, the telecom regulator had proposed that OTT services need not be regulated. But it had said it would relook at the issue later.

Newly appointed Chairman, Anil Kumar Lahoti was speaking at a symposium on 'Strengthening Atmanirbhar: Securing domestic industry and technology', this week. He was quoted as saying the regulator will proceed with the process of holding open house discussions in around three months or so, according to a Times Of India report. "I know, we have an ongoing consultation on OTT communication. It is just that in last few months we are burning the midnight oil, clearing the number of references pending with us, and OTT communication is also in the line," he said.

The report added that Lahoti dismissed the suggestion on whether the telecom act has rendered OTT communication consultation paper infructuous. Lahoti said, "No, it is not like that."

As per the TOI report, Lahoti said, “The OTT consultation was initiated after the recommendation of a parliamentary committee so this consultation will be completed, and we will give our recommendations… which act it becomes a part of and which ministry or which regulator deals with it, is a separate matter.”

First Published on May 18, 2024 11:16 AM

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