Find the Balance: The Hindu Editorial


Find the Balance: The Hindu Editorial

Find the Balance : The Hindu Editorial

TRAI must protect telecom infra investments while encouraging digital innovations

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) consultation paper seeks to kick off a discussion on creating a regulatory framework for over-the-top (OTT) communication service providers such as Skype, WhatsApp, Viber and home-grown messaging apps like Hike. It looks to balance the economic interests of the telecom service providers (TSPs) who have created the infrastructure, the OTT services and consumers. There is no denying that OTT services have become the default choice for communication for millions of people not only in India but the world over. However, the growth of these services has disrupted the business models of TSPs; they have lost their traditional sources of revenue from voice calls and text messages, and need to now rely on data. But while technological advancements often disrupt business models, curbing innovation cannot be the solution. Rather, smart businesses embrace technology changes and adapt their revenue models.

That said, the angst of TSPs is that they make all the investment in infrastructure and maintain it not just to retain consumers but also to meet the regulatory requirement that stipulate minimum standards in data speed. TSPs and the OTT services have a symbiotic relationship of sorts. The quality of OTT services depends on the quality of telecom infrastructure. So does the quality of various other data-based services such as video streaming that are increasingly being bundled as packages by telecom service providers. TSPs have to comply with various licensing conditions, regulatory obligations and statutory requirements, pay license fee and taxes and preserve user data in the interest of national security. In comparison, the OTT players are not subject to any licensing or taxes, and can exercise self-regulation. They are not obligated yet to maintain users’ data in the users’ home country and investigative and law enforcement agencies are usually unable to access it. OTTs also have the advantage of providing encrypted services to offer more secure communication but has been misused to wreak havoc in nations and spread misinformation. Some of that needs to change, but in creating the regulatory framework for OTTs, TRAI must ensure innovation and free speech are not compromised.

One approach being considered in many nations, where the OTT players provide services that are identical or similar to those provided by telecom service providers, is to subject them to licensing and registration obligations. The EU has proposed a mix of deregulation and application of a limited set of rules to OTT services. The French telecom regulator does not regulate OTTs but treats all voice over internet protocol (VoIP) providers who connect to public switched telephone networks as equivalent to traditional TSPs. A white paper by German authorities has proposed measures such as subjecting OTTs to the same rules of consumer protection, data protection and security as TSPs. The TRAI should be in step with major democracies in this regard.

Important Words from Article & Their Meaning

1. Word: Embrace (ग्रहण करना)
  • Pronunciation: em-breys/ इम्ब्रैस
  • Part of Speech: Verb, Noun
  • Meaning: accept (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically.
  • Synonyms: hold, embody, accept, take in 
  • Antonyms: discard, reject, eliminate
  • Use in a Sentence: Some people are not willing to embrace new technologies.
2. Word: Disrupt (अस्त-व्यस्त करना)
  • Pronunciation: dis-ruhpt/डिस्रप्ट
  • Part of Speech: Verb
  • Meaning: 
    a. interrupt (an event, activity, or process) by causing a disturbance or problem.
        b. drastically alter or destroy the structure of.
  • Synonyms: distort, damage, buckle, warp
  • Antonyms: organize, arrange, mend
  • Use in a Sentence: He refuse to hear anything that might disrupt his plans.
3. Word: Angst (चिंता)
  • Pronunciation: ahngks/आंगक्स्ट
  • Part of Speech: Noun
  • Meaning: 
    a. a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about the human condition or the state of the world in general.
        b. a feeling of persistent worry about something trivial.
  • Synonyms: apprehension, worry, distress, unease
  • Antonyms: comfort, calmness, assurance
  • Use in a Sentence: Indulging in angst about the unfairness of it all will just make the problem worse.
4. Word: Obligate (बाध्य करना)
  • Part of Speech: Verb, Adjective
  • Pronunciation: ob-li-geyt/आब्लगैट
  • Meaning: 
    a. require or compel (someone) to undertake a legal or moral duty. [Verb]
    b. commit (assets) as security. [Verb]
    c. restricted to a particular function or mode of life. [Adjective]
  • Synonyms: constrain, pledge
  • Antonyms: release, absolve
  • Use in a Sentence: We were obligated to attend the opening ceremony.
5. Word: Comply (स्वीकार करना)
  • Pronunciation: kuhm-plahy/कम्प्लाइ
  • Part of Speech: Verb
  • Meaning: 
    a. act in accordance with a wish or command.
        b. (of an article) meet specified standards.
  • Synonyms: observe, obey, adhere to, conform to, follow, respect
  • Antonyms: disobey, refuse, defy
  • Use in a Sentence: When requested to leave, they refused to comply.
6. Word: Curb (नियंत्रण करना)
  • Part of Speech: Noun, Verb
  • Pronunciation: kurb/कर्ब
  • Meaning: a check or restraint on something.
  • Synonyms: inhibit, hinder
  • Antonyms: encourage, support
  • Use in a Sentence: We are trying to keep a curb on their activities.
7. Word: Wreck (विनाश)
  • Pronunciation: rek/रेक
  • Part of Speech: Verb, Noun
  • Meaning: 
    a. cause the destruction of (a ship) by sinking or breaking up. [Verb]
       b. something, especially a vehicle or building, that has been badly damaged or destroyed. [Noun]
  • Synonyms: devastate, demolish, annihilate
  • Antonyms: blessing, compensate, fabricate
  • Use in a Sentence: The collision reduced the car to a useless wreck.
8. Word: Stipulate (प्रतिज्ञा करना)
  • Pronunciation: stip-yuh-leyt/स्टिप्यलैट
  • Part of Speech: Verb
  • Meaning:
       a. demand or specify (a requirement), typically as part of a bargain or agreement.
  • Synonyms: require, condition, promise
  • Antonyms: approachable, apply, appeal
  • Use in a Sentence: The company fails to pay on the date stipulated in the contract.
9. Word: Kick off (प्रारम्भ करना)
  • Pronunciation: kik-awf/किक ऑफ
  • Part of Speech: phrasal verb of kick
  • Meaning: 
    a. become very angry; suddenly start an argument or fight.
        b. the initial stage of something; start; beginning
  • Synonyms: lead off, initiate, succumb
  • Antonyms: cancel, abstain, end up
  • Use in a Sentence: It might be a good idea to kick off with a few folk songs.
10. Word: Enforcement (प्रचलन)
  • Pronunciation: en-fawrs-muh nt/एन्फोर्स्मन्ट
  • Part of Speech: Noun
  • Meaning: the act of compelling observance of or compliance with a law, rule, or obligation. 
  • Synonyms:  imposition, implementation
  • Antonyms: dismissal, expiration
  • Use in a Sentence: The doctors want stricter enforcement of existing laws.

Practice Time

Based on the above article, we have some practice questions for you. Try to answer these questions in the comments section & our team will review them at the earliest!
 Exercise 1:
Here are some of the words from the above article. Try to frame sentences from them in your own words and share them with us in the comments section!
  • Angst
  • Kick off
  • Enforcement
  • Wreck
  • Comply
Exercise 2: Match the column.
S No. Words Antonym/Synonym
1 Curb
2 Stipulate
3 Disrupt
4 Obligate
5 Embrace
Answer in the comment section.
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