Trai discusses on licensing framework for submarine cable landing

Telecom regulator Trai has initiated a discussion on licensing framework and regulatory mechanism for submarine cable landing in India.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said the department of telecommunications approached it sharing its concern over some Indian International Long Distance Operators (ILDOs) for not having any stake in submarine cable system, yet seeking clearance on behalf of the owners of submarine cable for laying or maintaining such cables in Indian territorial water or exclusive economics zones and also for applying to set up of Cable Landing Station (CLS) for such submarine cables.

Submarine cables are “vital communication infrastructure” of the digital age and “critical” to the today’s fast-paced data driven economy, Trai said floating the consultation paper titled ‘Licensing Framework and Regulatory Mechanism for Submarine Cable Landing in India’.

“DoT has sought recommendations of Trai on licensing framework and regulatory mechanism for submarine cables landing in India within existing Unified Licence-ILD/ standalone ILD license. Trai has thus issued this consultation paper to seek views of stakeholders on the issues flagged in the reference received from DoT (Department of Telecommunications),” the regulator said in a statement.

Besides, certain other issues related to submarine cables, that the authority has suo-moto identified, have also been discussed in this paper.

At present, there is no Indian marine service provider available, who can support the submarine maintenance activities in and around Indian waters. Dependency on foreign vessels or service providers involves high mobilisation time for the repair vessel.

Trai is seeking stakeholders’ views on need and feasibility of Indian flagged vessel for carrying out submarine cable operation and maintenance smoothly in a time-efficient manner.

Also, as the reliability and stability of submarine cable networks is high as compared with the terrestrial optical fibre cable network, domestic submarine cables can be envisaged to improve digital connectivity and infrastructure of Tier- I and Tier-II cities on the Indian coast.

The paper seeks to look at deployment challenges and ways to overcome them to promote domestic submarine cables in India.

“Further, to explore the benefits and challenges involved in laying stub-cables, a new concept of placing prelaid open-ended dark fiber from the CLS through Beach Manhole (BMH) into the territorial waters for upcoming new cables has been discussed for seeking views of stakeholders,” Trai said.

Issues related to challenges being posed in establishing terrestrial connectivity between differently located Cable Landing Stations in India have also been raised for consultation.

Trai has sought written comments from stakeholders by January 20, 2023 and counter-comments by February 03, 2023.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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