Trai issues a new consultation paper; this time on cloud computing policies

India’s telecom regulator, Trai, has again continued the streak of issuing consultation papers on all the relevant issues this season. This time, the regulator has issued a paper to seek stakeholders’ views on cloud computing-related issues such as data security, service quality and legal and regulatory frameworks.

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Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), in the paper, said that business enterprises are now increasingly seeking to reshape their business models to gain benefits from this new paradigm of resource sharing. “With a view to bring out all relevant aspects of the issues and to provide a suitable platform for discussions, TRAI has initiated this consultation paper to engage the industry and all the stakeholders on the key issues,” the regulator said.

Trai said that the last date for sending written comments is July 8, while that for counter-comments is July 22, 2016. According to various media reports, the Trai’s consultation paper follows a request by the telecom department dating back to December 2012, where the latter sought recommendations on regulatory framework for cloud computing, security over cloud, quality of service of cloud services, interoperability among cloud players and legal framework for multiple jurisdictions.

The sector regulator has sought views on the protocol required for cloud service providers (CSPs) to submit to the territorial jurisdiction of India for offering lawful access of information. Trai, in the paper, said, “What should be the effective guidelines for and actions against those CSPs that are identified to be in possession of information related to commission of a breach of national security of India?”

It has also sought views on policies, systems and processes that are needed for information governance framework in cloud, particularly if it is hosted in a different country. In India, various industries have started switching their on-premise apps and infrastructure to cloud services in a bid to curb cost and achieve scalability, which has led to the new growth chapter for players providing cloud computing services.

Currently, a number of companies including Tata Communications, Microsoft, IBM and CyFuture are offering the cloud computing services to various companies.

According to various studies, cloud computing accounted for about 33% of the total IT expenditure in 2015 across the world. It is now expected to will grow 9.7% annually from 2013 to 2018. For the Indian market, the overall cloud computing market reached $1.08 billion by the end of 2015 with IT/ITeS, telecom, BFSI, manufacturing and government sectors contributing the largest to the cloud market in India, with nearly 78% of the total market.

The Trai’s consultation paper has also sought views on how the Indian government can promote cloud computing in e-governance projects, establish data centres in India and boost Digital India and Smart Cities initiatives. Earlier this week, the Trai had come up with a consultation paper to seek views from industry stakeholders to improve telecom services inside buildings by providing them access and encouraging them to use shared infrastructure.

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