Navigating India’s Telecom Act, 2023

Discussion on business and user perspectives

Context of the Telecom Act - Key Issues & Concerns

In light of the Telecommunications Act, 2023 recieving President’s assent, numerous questions have been raised regarding its applicability, oversight mechanisms, and how it is different from the 2022 version of the Bill. This Act aims to bring significant changes to the telecom sector by replacing outdated laws, including the century-old Indian Telegraph Act of 1885. It covers a wide ambit of several key issues, including authorization norms, broad definition of telecom services, possible weakening of encryption practices, consumer protection, and surveillance.

In an effort to clarify and discuss some of the vagueness in the Act and its impact on both users and businesses, Rootconf is organising an online discussion on 29th Dec at 6 PM IST. The panellists for this session are:

This discussion will be moderated by Isha Suri, Research Lead at the Centre for Internet and Society.

Why it is important to engage on this issue

The telecom industry is experiencing significant changes driven by technologies such as 5G, IoT, and AI, enabling innovative services and new business models. Telcos are diversifying into content and payments, while startups are entering sectors like agriculture and healthcare. An effective Telecom Act is crucial to capitalise on these opportunities, incentivise innovation, and maintain operational efficiency.

However, the Telecom Act raises serious concerns. It could increase costs for telecom operators and startups, hinder access to affordable services, and impede progress towards universal access goals. Moreover, the Act compromises user privacy. It expands government surveillance powers, introduces new identity verification norms, and weakens privacy rights. Additionally, the Act allows for arbitrary internet shutdowns during emergencies, without adequate safeguards.

To ensure a thriving telecom sector, it is essential to strike a balance between regulatory oversight and safeguarding user rights. For this to happen, policymakers, the technology community, users and civil society need to have a deeper dialogue on the Telecom Act.

Who should attend this discussion?

  • Startup teams building products across the infrastructure, application and services layers
  • Investors tracking the telecom, IT and media sectors in India
  • Individual consumers who will be directly affected by the Act
  • Civil society actors engaged in defending the rights of users
  • Think tanks developing a research agenda on these issues
  • Policymakers including government officials and regulators in the telecom sector
  • Lawyers and policy advisors advising clients on the impact of the Act

Key outcomes for participants

  • An introduction to key concepts and concerns in the Act, followed by a discussion with experts
  • Understand the effects of the Act for users and businesses
  • Join a forum for policymakers, startups and consumers to engage with each other on these issues

Contact information

For queries about the meetups, contact Hasgeek at or call (91)7676332020.

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