Foreign telecom providers in India may no longer be able to monitor data and voice traffic on networks in India from across the globe if recommendations by a panel of the Department of Telecommunications comes into effect. The panel has recommended tightening of norms for remote access of data, according to a report by The Economic Times.

“The panel has said that all players must create an on-line mirror image and audit trail of the remote access information. The panel has also said that telecom service providers must install a local remote access server in India and store all information related to this facility locally,” the report reads.

The move, if it comes into effect, will impact foreign carriers in India such as AT&T, BT, France Telecom, Verizon and Cable & Wireless among others.

According to the report, the panel added that all remote access requests from foreign locations on Indian network elements should be stored directly at the Indian remote access storage server. “Telecom service provider should ensure the capability to restrict remote access to India network as and when directed by licensor,” the panel's recommendation adds.

No more roaming charges!

Department of Telecommunication recommends stricter remote access norms

Currently, remote access from certain international locations that are approved by the Home Ministry and intelligence agencies is allowed. However, domestic operators and access service providers, which are the long-distance arms of telcos such as Bharti, RCOM, BSNL and Tatas, are not allowed to transfer any information about users (except roaming) outside India. Details of infrastructure and network diagrams are also barred from being transferred outside India.

This move has resulted in the Association of Competitive Telecom Operators (ACTO), which represents foreign carriers in India, opposing any revisions in existing remote access norms. ACTO has said that India should not impose a common solution across all networks. “Global operators may directly fetch the logs from network elements or from central logging servers (located outside) India. In any event, the details of the implementation may vary as long as the desired objected is met,” ACTO said in a communiqué to the Department of Telecommunications.

The report goes on to reveal that ACTO said global operators will set up functional domestic servers that would capture remote access information on real-time basis within a year. “At the same time, it has also pointed out that its member companies, which operate in more than 200 countries, had not received any such 'request pertaining to remote access '. It also added that this was the first time that global carriers were implementing such an in-country set-up. “

“Since April 2007, the remote access policy has been uniformly applied to all telecom licences, including national and international long distance and internet service providers. The remote access provisions…were revised specifically to include the requirements of global telcos and their affiliates. Based on the understanding on remote access functionality, investments were made by our member companies. Given its uniformity across all licences, major changes were not envisaged in the network,” the ACTO communiqué added.

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