According to the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), over-the-top (OTT) streaming platforms do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and are governed under the Information Technology Rules, 2021, notified by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
In a recent order passed by TDSAT, it said that OTT platforms such as Disney+Hotstar are outside the purview of the TRAI Act since they do not require any permission or a licence from the government. This is a significant position given that the TRAI and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) are attempting to regulate OTT services, which has been challenged by Meity.
TDSAT’s order followed a petition filed by the All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF) alleging that Star India’s act of streaming ICC Cricket World Cup matches for free on mobile devices through its platform Disney+Hotstar is discriminatory under the TRAI regulations, as the matches can be watched on the Star Sports TV channel only if the viewers have subscribed by making a monthly payment for channels. TDSAT has rejected AIDCF’s interim request seeking a restraint on Star India from permitting their viewers to have Star Sports on their mobile free of charge or also provide free access to Star Sports to AIDCF’s members, which include cable operators.