TRAI AND OTT PLATFORM (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Economy)

News-CRUX-10     6th October 2023        

Context: Recently, TDSAT ruled that OTT platforms are exempt from the TRAI Act as they don't need government permission or a license. The Telecom Appellate Panel in India has determined that Over the Top (OTT) streaming platforms are not under the authority of the TRAI but are instead regulated by the Information Technology Rules, 2021, issued by the IT Ministry.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)

  • About: It is a regulatory body set up by the Government of India under section 3 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997.
  • Aim: To regulate telecom services, including fixation/revision of tariffs for telecom services which were earlier vested in the Central Government.
  • Establishment: In 1997
  • Composition: Chairperson, two whole-time members and two part-time members, all of which are appointed by the Government of India.
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Communications and Broadcasting
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Tenure: 3 years or till the age of 65 years

Over-The-Top (OTT) Platform

  • About: Originally designed as a content hosting service, quickly expanded its scope to encompass the production & and distribution of short films, feature movies, documentaries & web series
  • These platforms provide a variety of content and employ artificial intelligence to recommend content to users based on their previous viewing habits on the platform.
  • Examples: Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Peacock, Curiosity Stream, Pluto TV, and so many more.

Telecom Appellate Panel in India

  • About: The TRAI Act of 1997 was amended in the year 2000 and TDSAT was set up to adjudicate disputes and dispose of appeals with a view to protect the interests of service providers and consumers of the telecom sector.
  • Composition: Chairperson and two Members appointed by the Central Government
  • Powers and Jurisdiction: The Tribunal exercises jurisdiction over Telecom, Broadcasting, IT and Airport tariff matters under the TRAI Act, 1997 (as amended), the Information Technology Act, 2008 and the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008.
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