India starts update of telecoms laws ahead of 5G

08 March 2021 | Capacity Team

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India's Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has started work to replace the Indian Telegraph Act 1885 and the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act 1933.

The legal updates are part of India's preparations for 5G.

Local reports have said machine to machine (M2M) learning and IoT regulations will be the focus and that the National Law University in Delhi has been enlisted for the update project. Other areas of focus are expected to include net neutrality, traffic management and pricing and consumer rights.  

The National Law University has been granted a four-month window to draft the updates.

However, early reports do not mention planning permission for masts or infrastructure policy; measures that have been prioritised in other countries, such as the US.

DoT secretary Anshu Prakash is quoted by local media as saying: "We have engaged the National Law University (NLU), Delhi, to study the Acts and suggest changes and amendments that are necessary due to passage of time and advent of new technologies."

Prakash continued: “The mandate will include easy regulation, promoting innovation and proliferation of technologies, decriminalisation of actions considered to be offences. Most importantly, the new legislation will require provisions that relate to M2M communication and IoT.

“The current legislation regulates the interface of persons with each other and with machines. However, for interfaces between a machine and machine, there are gaps," he added.

Initial consultation meetings are expected to begin over the coming weeks.