New Telecom Bill May Come In 6-10 Months; Focus Is On Effective Spectrum Use: Ashwini Vaishnaw

The new telecom bill is expected to be in place in 6-10 months but the government is not in a hurry, communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Friday. “Basis consultation process, we will create final draft. That draft will then go through committee processes of Parliament. Then it has to go (to) Parliament. I see a timeline of 6-10 months but we are not in a hurry,” Vaishnaw said when asked about a timeline for implementation of the final bill.

Talking about the importance of the bill, the minister said, “The focus is on the effective use of spectrum. It has been given legal backing now. Existing rules & regulations to continue, some significant reforms brought in.”

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“India is capable of leading in the telecom sector. Keeping this in mind the ambit of USOF (Universal Service Obligation Fund) has been expanded. PM has clearly said that we’ve to build 5G services parallel to global standards & lead the world in 6G technology,” he added.

The Department of Telecommunications has set the deadline of October 20 on the draft bill. The bill seeks to replace three laws: the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933 and the Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1950.

However, with a view to ensuring smooth transition to the new framework and avoid any possible disruption, the bill provides for continuity of actions taken under the repealed laws. It also provides that rules under the repealed laws would continue till such time that new rules are formulated.

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“PM instructed to draft (Telecom) Bill focusing on users’ security, both service providers & users should know caller’s identity. Due to technology, distinction between voice & data calls disappeared. So all platforms used to make calls should be brought under same regulation,” said Vaishnaw.

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