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Trai appears to be bringing WhatsApp, Facebook, X and Insta under regulation

NEW DELHI: OTT services such as WhatsApp, Signal, Facebook, Instagram and This development assumes significance as the government has kept OTTs out of the regulatory regime in the new telecom law, which was recently passed by Parliament.

Telecom regulator Trai will now proceed with open house discussions on strengthening a regulatory mechanism for OTT services, chairman Anil Kumar Lahoti said on Friday. Speaking at a symposium on ‘Strengthening Atmanirbhar: Securing Domestic Industry and Technology’, Lahoti said the regulator will continue the process of holding open house discussions in “about three months”.

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“I know, we have an ongoing discussion about OTT communications. It’s just that over the past few months we have been burning the midnight oil, clearing out the number of references pending with us, and OTT communications is also on the line,” he said.

Asked whether the telecom law has made the OTT communication advice useless, Lahoti rejected such a suggestion, saying, “No, it is not.”

“The OTT consultation was started following a recommendation from a parliamentary committee, so this consultation will be completed, and we will make our recommendations… which law it becomes part of and which ministry, or which regulator deals with it, is a separate matter “, he said.

The government had removed OTT services from the scope of the telecom law, despite earlier plans to bring the companies under a licensing regime that would also have allowed the state and law enforcement agencies to monitor their services in line with similar controls on telecom companies. There is an opinion that the issue should be part of the new IT law that is currently in the works.