The big three of the tech industry – Amazon, Microsoft And Google – seems to be quite annoyed.
Cloud Service Providers such as Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, IBM, and VMWare are protesting against the recent decision of TRAI.
On September 14th, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India submitted a list of recommendations on Cloud Service Providers, (CSPs) to the Department of Telecommunication.
In the list, TRAI suggested that cloud service providers need more regulation which can be achieved by putting them a ‘light-touch regulatory regime’.
TRAI wants DoT to set up an industry body comprising of CSPs, Government and industry experts and make sure that operating cloud service providers in India join it mandatorily within six months.
If CSPs fail to join it within the stipulated time, then telecom companies will not be allowed to provide them with any infrastructure.
The industry body has been explicitly proposed to help lay down broad principles and have oversight regarding the functioning of various CSPs, and this is where the bone of contention arrives.
The Bone Of Contention: ‘Unnecessary’ Government Oversight
After being notified of these suggestions from TRAI, cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft, VMWare and IBM have all joined forces and are protesting this move big time.
The proposal of creating this industry body is being viewed as the Indian telecom regulator’s attempt to increase government oversight on the cloud sector. This is why, later this week, cloud companies plan to send their petition to DoT via Nasscom and Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).
Industry representatives from the cloud companies are terming this proposal as a ‘regulatory land grab’. They have mentioned that CSPs are already governed by principles laid down by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). Thus this new industry body will add unnecessary government oversight and complications.
People familiar with this development have revealed that Nasscom – the Information Technology Industry Council, COAI – Association of Competitive Telecom Operators and a Washington DC-based trade association will be writing to the telecom department of India by the end of this week to voice the overwhelming concerns of the industry leaders.
The issue of additional regulation doesn’t extend only to this newly proposed industry body but to the upcoming Personal Data Protection Bill and the IT Act, which is currently being reviewed by the Government.
Kumar Deep, country manager, India at ITI Council, believes that cloud services providers will be at a significant disadvantage if they are subjected to various regulatory bodies all at the same time.
This will quite undoubtedly lead to multiple bodies trying to govern the same set of operators. Thus, it will lead to an overlap in oversight and duplication of regulations for sure.
Now it remains to be seen how this situation further develops. If CSPs will still be asked to mandatorily join the industry body no matter what or if the proposal will be put on hold for addressing the concerns of the industry at large is anybody’s guess right now. We will keep you updated on all future happenings. Until then, stay tuned.