Telecom and information technology (IT) associations including NASSCOM and the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) have opposed the proposal of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to set up a regulatory body for cloud service providers (CSPs).
According to the industry associations, instead of promoting a self-regulatory approach developed by industry members themselves, such a registered industry body would negatively impact the growth of the industry. Moreover, the associations felt that the creation of a regulatory framework does not fall within the ambit of the Telegraph Act and TRAI Act, as CSPs cannot be classified as telecom operators.
In October 2019, TRAI had issued a consultation paper seeking comments from stakeholders regarding registration of an industry body for CSPs and terms and conditions for the same. In its reply to the consultation paper, NASSCOM said that the consultation by TRAI overlaps with the regulatory scope of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), and added that the CSPs in India should not be subject to regulation by Department of Telecommunications (DoT) or TRAI, directly or indirectly. It further added that if any additional regulation is required, it should be left to MeitY. The association said any regulation will in turn only hurt the Indian government’s flagship ‘Digital India’ programme and the goal of creating a $1-trillion digital economy by 2025.
But notwithstanding the opposition from the sector, TRAI went ahead and conducted an open house discussion on February 28, 2020. During the discussion, almost the entire industry opposed the move to regulate CSPs.
In a joint letter industry associations including NASSCOM, COAI, ITI and Association of Competitive Telecom Operators (ACTO) have urged TRAI to take the observed concerns into account before giving recommendations to DoT.