The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Monday said that the regulatory interventions are not required “in respect of issues related with privacy and security” of Over-the-Top (OTT) services. The authority on Monday released its recommendations on the Regulatory Framework for OTT Communication Services after a “multistage consultation process.” The Department of Telecommunications in 2016, sought the recommendations of Trai on net neutrality “including traffic management and economic, security and privacy aspects of OTT services.” Trai on its part issued multiple consultation papers including one in 2018 that raised multiple issues such as “similarity and substitutability” of telecom service providers and OTT services.
Trai Against Regulatory Interventions into OTT Services
The authority in its recommendations said that the developments related to OTT services “shall be monitored” and that the “intervention as felt necessary” shall be done at applicable time.
“Market forces may be allowed to respond to the situation without prescribing any regulatory intervention,” Trai said in its recommendations.
The authority in its recommendations said that the telecom industry has witnessed “exponential growth in data traffic” and that the operators launched “traffic plans with unlimited voice usage” as part of the data packs. Trai said that the spike in data traffic shows that “with the increase in usage of OTT, traffic of telecom services providers” have also increased.
“Therefore, any regulatory prescription in haste may leave [an] adverse impact on industry as a whole,” Trai said in its recommendations.
TRAI Might Later Relook Into Regulatory Framework of OTT Services
The authority said that several security and privacy related issues were raised during its consultation process. However, Trai said that it observed that the “architecture of OTT communication services is evolving to protect the end users.” Further, it was highlighted that the “encryption technology is deployed in a manner which prevents intermediaries from getting the communication in a clear text or in an intelligible form.”
The authority said that the “imposition of any requirements” would result in change in the architecture of OTT services “which might not provide same level of protection as offered today.”
Crucially, it was said that the issue “may be looked into afresh when more clarity emerges in the international jurisdictions” with Trai particularly highlighting the study initiated by International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
“It is not an opportune moment to recommend a comprehensive regulatory framework for various aspects of services referred to as OTT services, beyond the extant laws and regulations prescribed presently,” Trai said in its recommendations.