Updated December 23rd, 2023 at 13:30 IST
Parliament passes Telecommunications Bill 2023: 10 points on how it will benefit the consumer
The central government has established safeguards for users, like a do-not-disturb registry and the need for prior approval to receive certain messages.
The government has passed the Telecommunication Bill, 2023, which will significantly alter the consumer and telecom network policy in the country.
The new law has overhauled the century-old telecom law, which is based on the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933, and the Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1950. Let’s take a look at the ways in which the Telecommunications Bill 2023 will protect the consumers in the country.
Here's how the new Telecommunications Bill 2023 will protect the citizens:
- Along with establishing strict guidelines for phone number spoofing in fraud, the new Telecom Bill suggests a "digital-by-design" online grievance redressal system to handle consumer complaints.
- The central government has established safeguards for users, like a do-not-disturb (DND) registry and the need for prior approval to receive certain messages.
- Anyone caught using someone else's official identification to obtain a SIM card fraudulently faces up to three years in prison, a fine of up to Rs 50 lakh, or both. Spoofing a SIM card is another way to conceal one's identity from a call recipient.
- A penalty of up to of Rs 50,000 will be imposed on a person holding more than nine SIMs (per Aadhaar Card) for the first offence. A penalty of Rs 2,00,000 will be imposed on the person for ensuing offences.
- The possession of unauthorised telecom equipment or the use of an unauthorised cellular network or service is now illegal under the new Telecommunications Bill 2023, and penalties of up to Rs 10 lakh are possible.
- A provision has been introduced, which calls for biometric based identification (linked with Aadhaar Card) of the prospective subscribers by the telecom service providers. It will avert criminals from securing SIM cards using wrong or fake identity proofs.
- The Telecom Bill offers a method for utilising the right of way to install telecom equipment on both public and private land.
- The only method used by the central government to allocate spectrum to telecom operators is auctions.
- The government will have the authority to create regulations for the security and guarantee of cybersecurity in telecommunications networks and services.
- The central government will need to give prior authorisation before one can: (i) offer telecom services; (ii) build, run, maintain, or grow telecom networks; or (iii) own radio equipment. Licences that are currently in effect will remain so for the duration of their grant, or five years if no time frame is stated.
Published December 23rd, 2023 at 10:34 IST