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TRAI chief PD Vaghela bats for lesser regulation for broadcasting players

The level of regulation can be eased for existing traditional players rather than imposing stricter curbs on the over-the-top (OTT) platforms, said PD Vaghela, Chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

Vaghela, while speaking at the FICCI Frames in Mumbai on May 3, said he is in favour of “creating a level-playing field”, but opposed to the idea of subjecting the new entrants in the sector to tighter regulations.

“…should we go for regulations for the new players? I would scoff at that idea. Rather can the present players not be as regulated and be overburdened with regulators,” Business Today quoted the TRAI chief as saying.

“New players will come. It’s better if we relax regulation of present players rather than making it strict for them,” he reportedly added.

Vaghela’s remarks comes in the backdrop of telecom operators and broadcasting entities alleging that OTT platforms have been subjected to lenient regulatory framework, which provides them an unfair edge. They have long been demanding that regulatory conditions and licence treatment must be made uniformly applicable for similarly placed players.

According to Vaghela, he would prefer minimal regulation with a focus on pricing forbearance, rather than introducing fresh regulations for the new entrants.

“My idea is that if you want industry to grow, less regulation is the best regulation. If the government gives me a roadmap, TRAI would walk the talk. We’re not afraid of this forbearance,” he was quoted as saying.

Earlier, industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) emphasised the need to ensure a level-playing field among all technologies, that is “Same Service Same Rules” with respect to OTT communication services so that “fair and healthy” competition prevails in the industry.

Late last year, the telecom operators’ body had even batted for OTT communication services to directly compensate telcos for data traffic they are driving onto the networks, as it advocated a licensing and light-touch regulation framework for such services. Moneycontrol

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