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Government Sets Date for Telecom Services Act Implementation With Expanded Powers

Key Provisions of Telecom Services Act to Come into Force on June 26, 2024

Implementation Date Announced

According to a Gazette notification, the Central government has designated June 26, 2024, as the date for the implementation of specific sections of the new Telecom Services Act. The provisions to be enacted include sections 1, 2, 10 to 30, 42 to 44, 46, 47, 50 to 58, 61, and 62 of the Act.

Government Control Over Telecom Services

The notification specifies that the government may assume control over telecom services for reasons related to security, public order, or the prevention of offences. Section 20, which becomes effective on June 26, states, “In the event of a public emergency, including disaster management, or in the interest of public safety, the Central Government or a State Government, or any officer specially authorized by them, may temporarily take possession of any telecommunication service or network from an authorized entity. This includes ensuring that messages from users authorized for response and recovery during an emergency are given priority.”

Authorization Requirement for Telecom Operators

Under the Act, telecom operators must obtain authorization from the government to establish or operate telecommunication networks, provide services, or possess radio equipment.

Creation of Digital Bharat Nidhi

Once the Act’s provisions take effect, the Universal Service Obligation Fund will be renamed Digital Bharat Nidhi. This fund will be expanded to support research, development, and pilot projects, beyond just the establishment of telecom services in rural areas.

Pending Provisions

However, sections dealing with administrative spectrum allocation, including for satellite services, and the adjudication mechanism will be notified at a later date.

Superseding Existing Regulations

The Act will replace existing telecommunications regulations, including those under the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, and the Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933.

With input with Agency

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