Broadband India Forum (BIF) in its response to the TRAI Consultation paper on Cloud Services, has submitted that Cloud Service Providers should continue to conform to the rules and regulations set by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (“MeitY”), Govt. of India.
BIF stated that in the current regulatory environment, Cloud Service Providers are already sufficiently governed by the existing guidelines/rules of MeitY and operate under the existing laws. Further, the telecom infrastructure used for providing cloud services is already regulated. Customers access cloud services using network infrastructure, which is categorized as a communication service, and is already regulated by the DoT and the TRAI. Cloud Service Providers also use telecom infrastructure for connecting their data centres. Telecom/Digital infrastructure, and telecom service providers providing the same, are amply regulated by the DoT and TRAI in India. In doing so, these regulations adequately ensure protection of customers, maintenance of public network security and integrity, and enabling the Government to monitor and obtain information on transmission of data (e.g., for national security purposes). Moreover, there are no perceived market failures nor any consumer concerns, which would necessitate need for ex-ante intervention from the Authority. Hence, Cloud Service Providers need not be licensed/regulated separately through additional measures or brought under the ambit of an additional agency like DOT or TRAI.
Cloud services in India are forecasted to show a steep growth curve. As per a NASSCOM report, cloud spending in India is estimated to grow at 30% p.a. to reach USD 7.1-7.2 billion in 2022. In 2019 itself, the cloud services industry in India is expected to record the third-highest growth rate in the cloud services sector globally.
Additional regulations and monitoring requirements are thus very likely to be detrimental to India’s goal of becoming a global hub for cloud computing, content hosting and delivery. In the event that additional regulation is enacted, it may create overlapping or conflicting requirements, resulting in avoidable additional business costs for Cloud Service Providers. Therefore, in order to ensure unhindered growth and innovation in the cloud services market in India, Cloud Service Providers should not be subject to any further regulation from any industry body and not be subject to guidelines/rules from any other agency, other than MeitY.