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Crack the big digital convergence conundrum

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Technology has evolved, the way consumers consume information too has evolved. But rules, regulations and the way the media is regulated has not. This needs to change as the digital space evolves further

Of all the incongruous laws that still exist in India from colonial times, one really boggles the mind. No, it is not Section 377 of the Indian penal Code which also really needs to go, but the Indian Telegraph Act, which governs all forms of wired and wireless communications inside the Indian territory. Not only are telegrams obsolete and were discontinued in July 2013, almost two decades after the first mobile phones came into India, but the Indian Telegraph Act dates back to 1885. A 132-year-old legislation governs modern communications technology. Sure, it would be unfair to say that this Act has not been modified over the years, indeed the 1933 Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act formed the basis of early wireless telephony policies.

However, the rapid evolution of technology is evidenced by the introduction of the iPhone, just over 10 years ago, and where smartphones have come now. Ten years ago, Nokia, the Finnish mobile phone giant, was keen to promote a technology called Digital Video Broadcasting — handheld (DVB-H) which would have broadcast signals over the air to be picked up on mobile phones, making a mobile phone like a small handheld television. The thought process then was that bandwidth was extremely limited, the basic 2.5G EDGE networks could barely open a webpage, let alone stream video. But DVB-H turned out to be a stillborn project as technology got the better of it, and of Nokia which was completely and totally blindsided by the iPhone.

But back to broadcasting and the lack of proper regulation in that sector. There is no doubt that cable and satellite........

© The Pioneer