The India Telecommunications Bill of 2022, a draft of which was released by the Department of Telecommunications on Wednesday, is an ambitious attempt to consolidate three outdated and much-amended laws — the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885, the Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1933, and the Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act of 1950. As should be clear, an attempt to rationalise the legal underpinnings of this most 21st-century of industries is long overdue. The government deserves full credit for taking on a task that had been postponed for too long to the detriment of the investor climate in this infrastructure-heavy sector. Putting to rest some past controversies in the sector, the Bill proposes clearly that the default mechanism for spectrum allocation in the sector will be through auction, and clearly specifies the limited administrative exceptions to this rule, which may eventually include the “backhaul” spectrum necessary for efficient 5G services.
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First Published: Thu, September 22 2022. 22:39 IST