Trai moots creation of industry body for cloud service providers

Source: LiveMint.com, Sept 15, 2020

The telecom regulator on Monday recommended setting up of the first industry body for cloud service providers operating in India.

The body will be created by the department of telecommunications (DoT) and will not have an eligibility criteria to become its member. It will neither charge fee for membership nor will require a registration period with the DoT.

“DoT may initiate setting up of the first industry-led body and require all CSP’s to become its members. This body would lay down broad principles and procedures to aid its functioning,” said Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in its recommendations on cloud services.

The industry body will follow a light-touch regulatory framework and will initially limit the scope of cloud service providers (CSPs) to those offering infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) in the country or to the customers here. Software as a service (SaaS) providers can voluntarily enroll for membership.

“Any expansion of scope to mandate membership beyond IaaS and PaaS may be considered by the industry body on need basis and recommended to DoT for acceptance,” Trai said.

Under the main industry body, an ad hoc system will be formed to frame broad rules, chart the organisation structure and election procedure. The adhoc body may have government officials and leading experts from the industry’s side, the sector regulator recommended.

The telecom regulator said the DoT should not give exclusive rights to one body, and in case the government observes that a body is unfair and becomes a monopoly of a few big entities, then it may register multiple industry bodies for cloud service providers.

Trai recommended that the industry body may review its experience and deliberate upon the need to form multiple bodies for different market segments. “DoT may require this review after two years of commencement of the functioning of the first industry body, or such time as it considers appropriate,” the sector regulator said.

Telecom service providers may not be allowed to share infrastructure and platform with a cloud service provider if they are not a member of the industry body registered with the DoT. Failure to enroll as a member may impact a cloud service provider’s continuation and could lead to other consequences, which the DoT has to notify on its website, Trai said.

The DoT has been suggested to give all details of the membership on its website such as six months for enrollment from the date of public notification. A member willing to enroll will have to submit information about their company or organisation and contact details.

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