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Additional Provisions of the Telecom Act Implemented

Further provisions of the Telecommunications Act, 2023, have come into effect on July 5, as per a recent notification of the Ministry of Communications. These provisions include:

  • Technologically neutral use of spectrum¬†

Section 6 empowers the Central Government to facilitate spectrum utilisation in a flexible, liberalized, and technologically neutral manner, subject to specified terms and conditions.

  • Optimal utilisation of spectrum

Section 7 deals with the optimal utilisation of the spectrum, allowing the Central Government to proceed with a secondary assignment if it does not result in harmful interference in the use of the concerned part of the spectrum by the primary assignee. Additionally, an assignment may be terminated if it is determined that the assigned spectrum has remained unutilised for insufficient reasons for the prescribed period.

  • Monitoring and enforcement mechanism

The Central Government may set up a monitoring and enforcement mechanism under Section 8, to ensure compliance with spectrum utilisation conditions and interference-free use of the assigned spectrum. This Section also allows for spectrum sharing, trading, leasing and surrendering under prescribed terms.

  • Equipment blocking telecommunication¬†

Section 48 prohibits the possession or use of any equipment that blocks telecommunication, except when authorised by the Central Government or any authority authorised for specific purpose by the Central Government.

  • Appointment of TRAI chairperson¬†

Section 59(b) modifies the eligibility requirements applicable for the appointment of persons in the service of the Government, or in a service other than that of the Government, to the positions of Chairperson and members of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). This has been effected vide an amendment to Section 4 of the TRAI Act, 1997.

The provisions concerning rights of way for telecommunications networks, protection of users, regulatory sandboxes, etc. were previously brought into force late last month.