The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) under the Ministry of Communications has decided to extend the last date for receiving comments on the draft Telecom Bill to October 30, 2022.

“In response to requests received from several stakeholders, the Department has decided to extend the last date for receipt of comments to October 30, 2022,” the Department of Transportation said in a statement on October 17.

The draft Indian Telecom Bill, 2022, along with an explanatory note, was published by this ministry on the DoT website on 21 September 2022. The earlier date for submission of feedback was 20 October.

The telecommunications sector employs more than 4 million people and contributes about 8 percent of the country’s GDP, the note said.

The Ministry of Communications has initiated a public consultation process to develop a modern and future-ready legal framework. In July 2022, a Consultation Paper on “Need for a New Legal Framework to Regulate Telecommunications in India” was published and comments were invited.

The consultation paper explains the existing legal framework and the issues related to it. The consultation paper highlighted the evolution of telecommunications regulation in other countries.

Comments were then received from various stakeholders and industry associations.

In late September, the draft Telecommunications Bill was unveiled and expanded the definition of telecommunications services and brought over-the-top (OTT) communications services (such as WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram), satellite communications services, internet and broadband services, in-flight connectivity services and by sea, by the way. Going forward, airwaves can be awarded either through auctions or administratively, depending on the requirements.

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