TRAI recommendations on OTT are in the interest of consumers, says Broadband India Forum

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on September 15, 2020 Published on September 15, 2020

TV Ramachandran, President, BIF

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) recommendations on the regulatory framework for Over-The-Top (OTT) communication services would aid in the progress of the sector, and are primarily in the interest of the consumers, according to Broadband India Forum (BIF).

The regulator adopted a forward-looking approach in choosing not to regulate a sector wherein there have been no demonstrable and evident instances of harm or dysfunction of the markets, BIF, a think-tank and policy forum for digital communications said.

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The importance and effectiveness of OTTs were amply demonstrated during the Covid-19 crisis, as numerous digital services have aided the citizens in maintaining connectivity and near-normal operations via OTT applications, it said.

Several studies have also established the critical relevance and contribution of OTTs in enhancing productivity, efficiency and progress – both in socio-economic as well as national economy terms.

An earlier Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) said that the apps contributed a minimum ₹1.4 lakh crore to India’s GDP in 2015-16, and this is continually rising to INR 18 lakh crore by the end of 2020.

As per a WIK (German Consultant) report, each user of applications in India receives on average ₹16,000 ($249) of consumer surplus annually. Applied to the total population, this number stands at ₹4,800 ($74) per capita.

“OTTs have enabled accessibility of digital tools and amenities for the people, thereby enriching lives and empowering them by helping to enhance their productivity and socio-economic standing. This, in turn, has led to massive spill-over effects, adding to the nation’s economic prosperity. It is great that the regulator has decided to permit market forces to operate freely in the sector without the need for any regulatory intervention, which will help incentivise the growth and progress of this vital sector,” BIF President TV Ramachandran said.

“Telecom service providers and OTTs are as different as chalk and cheese, and therefore should not be compared on equal grounds. We firmly believe that the interests of a particular segment of the industry should not prevail over the numerous benefits to the citizens, the national economy, and the overall growth of the sector,” he added.

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Published on September 15, 2020
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