Govt working on new Convergence Bill

Last Updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013 - 13:32

New Delhi: The Telecom Ministry is working on a new Convergence bill for setting up a framework to govern transmission of telecom and broadcasting services on common network and has sought the involvement of I&B Ministry.

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal is learnt to have written to Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari in this regard earlier in May to appoint "an officer at least of the level of Joint Secretary" from his ministry to work with a committee set-up at the Department of Telecom (DoT) that is examining the clauses of Convergence Bill.

The Communication Convergence Bill introduced in the Lok Sabha 2001 could not be converted in to law because, among other things, it talked of content regulation.
Sibal has said that DoT panel has been set-up to "examine the various clauses of Communication Convergence Bill, 2001 in the changed scenario and suggest ways to move forward... without encroaching into any form of content regulation."

Talking about technology evolution where telecom, Internet and video services can be accessed through common devices, Sibal has written that "it is now imperative to move towards convergence in the regulation of carriage networks in the telecom, broadcasting and IT services to enhance affordability".

An internal committee at DoT has already recommended provision of providing telecom, cable and broadcasting services by a single company and paying for the services though a common bill.
Sources at DoT said these kinds of provisions will need new set of regulation that can be introduced only through the new convergence bill.

DoT is also learnt to have suggested venturing of state- owned telecom firms BSNL and MTNL in to cable and broadcasting services for their revival.

The minister, meanwhile, has also given the reference of the National Telecom Policy 2012 as a reason behind the exercise. It envisages review and harmonising of the legal, regulatory and licensing framework in time bound manner for converged networks.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, May 26, 2013 - 13:32

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