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Indian government launches Trusted Telecom Portal

The Government launched the Trusted Telecom Portal on 15th June 2021 signaling the coming into effect of the National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector (NSDTS). Consequently, with effect from 15th June 2021 the Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) are mandatorily required to connect in their networks only those new devices which are designated as ‘Trusted Products’ from ‘Trusted Sources’. Necessary amendment had been made by the Government in this regard to the license conditions for the provision of telecommunication services by the TSPs. The portal was developed and implemented by CDoT, an R&D unit of the Government. The challenging task was completed on schedule despite the debilitating effect over the course of the pandemic on the development team of CDoT, the hosting provider RailTel, dedicated staff of the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and the supporting stakeholder representatives from the TSPs and equipment vendors.

The Union Cabinet had accorded approval for the National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector on 16th December 2020 which was to come into effect after 180 days of the date of approval.

Trusted Products are products whose critical components and the products themselves are sourced from Trusted Sources. The TSPs will be provided access to log into the Trusted Telecom Portal and indicate the telecom products and the vendor from whom they intend to procure the products. The details of these vendors, the products, their critical components and their sources are then populated into the portal by the TSPs and respective vendors who will also be provided access to the portal. An assessment is made of the vendors and the sources of the components to determine Trusted Sources and Trusted products which are then intimated to the vendor concerned and the applicant TSPs to make their procurements.

The present Directive does not envisage mandatory replacement of the existing equipment already inducted in the networks of the TSPs. The Directive will also not affect ongoing Annual Maintenance Contracts (AMC) or updates to existing equipment already inducted in the network as on date of effect of the Directive. Hence no disruption to the existing networks will be created due to this Directive.

The National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) is the Designated Authority (DA) for the determination of inclusion of a vendor as a Trusted Source, of a Telecom product as a Trusted Product and the methodology for the said inclusion. The Designated Authority makes its determination based on approval of a committee called ‘National Security Committee on Telecom (NSCT) headed by Deputy NSA. The committee consists of members from relevant departments/ministries and also has two members from industry and an independent expert.
CT Bureau

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