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Telecom Act: Select Provisions to Come into Effect on June 26

As per a recent government notification, several provisions of the Telecommunications Act, 2023, are set to come into effect on June 26. These provisions pertain to right of way for telecommunications network, protection of users, regulatory sandboxes, etc.

In order to protect users, the Act empowers the Central Government to make rules requiring prior consent of users before sending specified messages (i.e., messages advertising goods or services, offering employment opportunities, etc.), maintenance of “Do Not Disturb” registers to ensure that such consent is obtained, or a mechanism for users to report malware or specified messages sent without obtaining prior consent. Such rules have to be in conformity with TRAI regulations. The Act goes a step further by mandating that authorised entities providing telecommunication services need to have an online grievance redressal mechanism in place.

If right of way for telecommunication network is sought over public property, an application has to be made by the facility provider to the concerned public entity. In case of other properties, the application has to be made to the person under whose ownership, control, or management the said property vests. Any damage to the property will require the facility provider to either restore it to its original state or pay compensation for the same.

The Act envisages obtaining authorisation from the Central Government for providing telecommunication services, establishing, operating, maintaining, or expanding telecommunication networks, or possessing radio equipment. Further, the spectrum for telecommunication can be used by a person on assignment from the Central Government. However, these provisions along with certain others including the ones providing for the repeal of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, and the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933, will not come into force this week.