Telecom Exports Promotion Council (TEPC) has sought the cancellation of a purchase order by PowerGrid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) to China-based optic fiber maker Fiberhome for enhancing its national telecom backbone and access network.
On April 29, 2020, TEPC had written to PGCIL, a copy of which was also sent to the National Security Advisor (NSA), and Ministry of Power and Ministry of Home Affairs. In its letter, TEPC said that telecom equipment coming from China could pose a serious threat to India’s national security.
Raising doubts over Fibrehome, TEPC said that PGCIL’s telecom network is being used by various government agencies such as the National Informatics Centre (NIC), Intelligence Bureau (IB), and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for transmission of critical data and information. The industry group in its letter also alleged that Fiberhome was a Chinese state-run company, spun off in 1999 after the transformation of Wuhan Research Institute of Posts and Telecommunications.
Furthermore, TEPC asked the public sector unit (PSU) to terminate the purchase order and rollout a fresh tender in view of clause 10(d) of the public procurement (Make in India) policy to support the domestic industry.
Fibrehome had bagged the contract for the mega pan-India fibre-based network program worth nearly Rs 35 billion by PGCIL that aims to offer broadband services and further resell bandwidth to public departments.
TEPC represents domestic companies such as Paramount Wires and Cables Limited (PWCL), Sterlite Technologies Limited (STL), Himachal Futuristic Communications Limited (HFCL), Polycab Wires and Cables, Aksh Optifibre and Finolex Cables.