India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has cautioned several operators for applying for authorisation to land submarine cable systems in which they hold no stakes.
As reported by local outlet The Hindu, Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio), Bharti Airtel, and Sify Technologies are all seeking permission to land international cables. Under Indian law, this means that they – or a member of the associated cable’s consortium – need a valid international long distance (ILD) licence provided by the DoT.
As noted by the DoT: “ILD licensees … while applying for security clearances on behalf of any entity for laying/maintaining the submarine cables, shall make sure that they have significant stake in such entities on behalf of whom they are applying for security clearances.”
While Jio holds a stake in both cable systems that it is seeking to authorise (the India Asia Xpress and India Europe Xpress cables), Airtel and Sify appear not to meet this requirement. Airtel has asked permission to land the 2Africa and SeaMeWe-6 cables although it is only in the consortium for the latter and holds no stake in the former, while similarly Sify has applied to land the Raman cable despite not being a stakeholder.
The DoT has asked TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) to review the applications. The regulator is currently in the process of gathering feedback on its proposed licensing framework for landing submarine cables in India.