Telecom Bill 2023: Exclusion of OTT Platforms Confirmed by Ashwini Vaishnaw

Striking a Balance: Navigating Regulatory Frontiers in India’s Telecom Evolution


In a recent announcement, India’s Telecom Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw, has clarified that over-the-top (OTT) players or applications will not be subject to the regulations proposed in the new Telecom Bill. Instead, they will continue to be governed by the Information Technology Act of 2000. This statement comes as a response to concerns raised by internet activists and app developers regarding the potentially broad scope of the telecommunications definition in the new legislation.

The Telecom Bill 2023:

The Telecom Bill 2023 aims to replace three existing laws: the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885; the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933; and the Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1950. The comprehensive reform is designed to modernize the regulatory framework governing the telecommunications sector in India.

Exclusion of OTT from Telecom Regulations:

One of the key points clarified by Minister Vaishnaw is the exclusion of OTT players from the new telecom regulations. Over-the-top services, which include popular platforms for streaming, communication, and entertainment, will maintain their regulatory framework under the Information Technology Act of 2000. This decision aims to address concerns raised by app developers and activists who feared that the broad definition of ‘telecommunications’ could potentially encompass all internet-based communication.

Response to Activists’ Concerns:

The move to exclude OTT platforms from the purview of the Telecom Bill comes as a response to concerns about the expansive definition of telecommunications. The ambiguity in the language of the bill led to apprehensions that it could be interpreted to cover any form of internet-based communication, potentially impacting a wide range of digital services.

Minister Vaishnaw’s assurances provide clarity and reassurance to both OTT service providers and users. By maintaining the existing regulatory framework under the Information Technology Act of 2000, the government aims to strike a balance between fostering innovation and ensuring responsible oversight in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.


The Telecom Bill 2023, with its ambitious goal of overhauling the regulatory landscape for the telecommunications sector in India, has sparked conversations and concerns. However, the recent clarification from Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw regarding the exclusion of OTT platforms from the bill’s regulations demonstrates the government’s commitment to addressing stakeholders’ apprehensions. As the digital ecosystem continues to evolve, a transparent and adaptive regulatory framework is essential to support innovation while safeguarding user interests and privacy.

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