In light of the fast-changing nature of Over the Top (OTT) services, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has put together a detailed draft OTT Regulatory Framework.
After conducting thorough discussions both internally and externally, the PTA has presented the draft to the federal government for approval.
The suggested framework, as outlined in a document by the PTA, gives the authority the power to create strong regulations for OTT Services. This includes the ability to regularly review and adapt to changes in the industry, ensuring effective supervision of OTT services. This proactive approach demonstrates the PTA’s commitment to handling the challenges posed by the dynamic OTT industry.
According to the PTA, the telecommunications sector is currently experiencing a significant shift, mainly due to the growing prevalence of OTT services. These services provide content or applications to users over the public Internet, bypassing traditional network providers. The widespread availability of broadband and smart devices has enabled OTT providers to directly compete with licensed services such as voice, video, and messaging.
The resulting competition has raised concerns about the economic impact, competitive implications, and regulatory considerations surrounding OTT services. Notably, the appeal of these services lies in their cost-effectiveness and innovative revenue models, creating an imbalance with traditional telecom services.
The PTA recognizes that when telecom and broadcasting services come together on OTT platforms, it’s harder to tell them apart based on the current laws. To address this, the draft framework suggests a responsibility matrix aimed at managing and facilitating OTT services.
OTT services, as defined by the PTA, include applications and services accessible over the internet that utilize operators’ networks providing internet access services.
These services fall into three primary categories: Communications, Video Content, and Application Ecosystem. The rapid growth of OTT services has raised national policy concerns related to regulatory imbalances and security issues, all of which are carefully addressed in the proposed regulatory framework.
The PTA emphasizes its commitment to formulating OTT service regulations, taking into account public safety, privacy concerns, and the national interest. This step reflects the authority’s dedication to creating a regulatory environment that ensures the balanced growth and sustainability of the telecommunications industry in Pakistan.