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Part 1: Technology, Media and Telecommunications Review

This is Part 1 of a 7 part series on Technology, Media and Telecommunications Review. It was authored by AnantLaw and published by Law Business Research Limited in December 2022.

 
 
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Part 1: Overview


The world is overflowing with data. Adoption of the internet, smart devices and cloud-driven apps, followed by increasing use of AI systems are the reason why we are generating and consuming data at a blazing speed. World governments have suggested ‘Open Data Initiatives’ and protocols related to personal data, like introducing General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) and the Personal Data Protection Bill (PDP Bill) in India.


With the rapid pace in the technology, the TMT sector in India has seen numerous developments. The year 2022 showed immense growth in the sector, wherein, India remained as the second-largest country in terms of internet subscription.


The Digital India programme launch by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi with the vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy achieved another milestone, which was highlighted in the vision of the government of India through various measures taken up for the growth of the TMT sector. The key areas in discussion in the programme are broadband highways, universal access to mobile connectivity, a public internet access programme, e-governance, electronic delivery of services, and electronics manufacturing.


The government of India, in its budget for the year 2022–23 highlighted that the required spectrum auctions will be conducted in 2022 to facilitate rollout of 5G mobile services within 2022–23 by private telecom providers, which was conducted in August 2022. In the Union Budget of 2022–23, the Cabinet allocated an amount of 845,870 million rupees to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).


In April 2022, the government of India launched the Digital India RISC-V programme (DIR-V), wherein, India will create microprocessors for India’s focus on mobility, computing and digitisation. The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras in collaboration with MeitY has already developed two microprocessor, Vega (64 bit) and Shakti (32 bit) for open-source architecture.


Under the Policy on Open Standards for e-governance, the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) has been assigned the responsibility for formulating standards for e-governance systems in India. All projects under e-governance (government to government (G2G), government to business (G2B), and government to citizen (G2C)) adhere to this policy.


The Indian over-the-top (OTT) market is actively scaling, with significant investment being made in both original and premium content, as well as robust subscription growth. With over 40 competitors, the Indian OTT market is one of the most competitive among growing markets. While there have been discussions about people turning away from TV, this has not yet occurred in India on a significant scale.


The covid-19 pandemic gave a massive benefit to the already-booming internet media and entertainment industry and transformed its growth trajectory in the previous year. The audience appreciated a more technologically advanced type of media that went beyond traditional media, which resulted in a widespread use of OTT platforms and an upsurge in both viewership and watch time.


When highlighting the actions, convictions, customs or opinions of any racial or religious group, OTT platforms are proceeding with necessary prudence and judgement. It will only be diligent that the government exercises its authority to censor OTT content judiciously and with consideration for fundamental liberties and due process. This will ensure that the concerns over process, sensitive information, offensive content, and so on do not pop up.


The courts in India have also played a crucial role in setting a touchstone in the TMT sector. To quote an example, recently, WhatsApp and Meta changed their privacy policy to allow the sharing of users’ personal data with each other and the Competition Commission of India (CCI) ordered a probe into the said policy. The privacy policy of WhatsApp is also under challenge before the Supreme Court of India for violation of privacy laws and the Information Technology Act, 2000.


Industry bodies, stakeholders and citizen’s interests in the sector were instrumental in changing the India government’s outlook towards the telecom industry as they actively participated in the discussions with the government for bringing about impacting reforms. The policy changes included permitting consolidation of internet links, removing bank guarantee requirement of 10 million rupees from service areas, and logical sharing of the enterprise telephone system for domestic and international business. The decision to bring about these changes was with a view to optimise cost for better usage of IT infrastructure.


Development in the sector, specifically, technology, is also witnessed when, in its 2022 Budget, the Indian government announced levying 30 per cent tax and 1 per cent tax deducted at source on income accruing from cryptocurrencies. The Reserve Bank of India is also beginning to work on implementation of the digital rupee in a phased manner, as announced in the budget speech of 2022–23. It was announced that India will soon launch the digital rupee and the digital currency issued by the Reserve Bank of India would be numbered in units, in a similar fashion to every fiat currency having a unique number. The said currency will then be included in the currency circulation.


The day is not too far off, thanks to increasing digitisation efforts, when India will accept the latest technologies such as internet via satellite, data science, and so on. India’s telecom journey has, without a doubt, moved forward from telegraph communication.


 
 

Full publication with all sections and citations can be downloaded from the link below.


The Technology, Media and Telecommunications Review
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