srinivas kodali


Editor’s comments on Telecom Regulation in India

Submitted Feb 28, 2023

The discussions around the draft Indian Telecommunications Bill of 2022 was to bring out the engineering challenges involved in compliance for the bill and make practitioners from telecom background share about current practices. The series of talks had three different veterans and practitioners from the telecommunications background.

Vivek Jathana of Exotel walked the audience over the practices of the telecom industry at various protocol levels and administrative practices involving telecom licence approvals from Law Enforcement Agencies. Vivek Jathana’s talk showed us how there is a lack of differentiation between application layers and telecom layers with the advent of VoIP and how all information sharing, whether voice or data, is now over the application layer. The speaker mentioned special emphasis on the role of security and need for surveillance in telecom, these are not necessarily ideal with respect to colonial laws and the recent judgements of the Supreme Court of India on fundamental right to privacy.

In the next talk in the series Chaitanya Chokkareddy of Ozonetel walked the audience through regulatory practices followed by ozonetel under the current Telegraph Act regime by mostly being a service provider for software instead of Telecommunications service provider. Chokkareddy gives us his perspective on how Virtual Network Operator licences are not necessarily designed for regulating cloud telephony and how they complied with other regulations. Again, these practices are not necessarily ideal from a regulation perspective, but helps us understand how various industry actors are looking at the Indian Telecommunications Bill 2022.

In the next talk in this series, Sunil Bajpai, Chief Trust Officer at Tanla Solutions and worked as Principal Advisor(IT) to TRAI explained the problem of spam and how solving spam is a complicated affair. Bajpai explains the rationale on using SMS templates to address spam and shows different trends in complaints of spam SMS. His talk covered the importance of trust and how to establish it in telecommunications systems and how distrust is also important in addressing fake/spam messages to not get fooled over financial fraud.

Each of these talks look into different regulatory problems and challenges involved in telecommunications and are important to continue to debate and understand how these systems impact Indian society.


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