In a crucial development on Monday, DoT announced that all companies providing satellite connectivity services will have to install network equipment as recommended by the government. Notably, DoT issued the new norms in March this year, with recommendations coming soon.
However, as on now, only BSNL has installed a satellite gateway. The state-run telco uses the same to provides satellite-based communication to agencies like security forces, oil companies, and so on.
DoT Aiming All Around Protection for India’s Telecom Sector
As per the new norms, the National Cyber Security Coordinator, Lt. Gen. Rajesh Pant is the designated authority for telecom gear procurement. That implies that he can impose conditions on from where and what telecom gear is being procured by the service provider. These changes indicate a new focus on the national security and safeguarding India’s telecom network.
Notably, DoT announced similar restrictions on telecom and internet service providers last month. The apex authority on Telecom has added sub-clause 41.6A(iii) (a.) to the UASL Agreement, in Security Conditions. DoT implemented this amendment on March 11. However, the telecom department only updated the same on its website on Monday.
Incidentally, these new norms will come into effect from 15th June. As per the same, satellite service operators will require permission from NCSC to upgrade their networks. Also, the providers will have to utilize the telecom equipment under the “trusted sources” list.
The amendment is in line with the National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector which mandates all telecom service providers to install equipment from only government-approved vendors and sources.
DoT said that the NCSC will provide information related to the categories which fall under the new regulations. Furthermore, the department said that NCSC will also share information regarding the trusted sources for the same.
Interestingly, this amendment will not affect Annual Maintenance Contract (AMCs) of any licensees or vendors. With this, the DoT also announced similar amendments in INSAT-MSS reporting services licence and VSAT CUG licence agreements.