Saturday, October 16, 2021

Cybersecurity watchdog NCSC clears uncertainty around telecom equipment imports, issues list of ‘trusted sources’ for telcos

In a move to end uncertainty around the imports of telecom equipment from China, the National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) has finalized the criteria for identifying ‘trusted sources’ and products to be used by telecom operators in future.

The national cybersecurity agency in a recently held meeting with top network operators has also conveyed the process to provide information to cybersecurity watchdog. The meeting was attended by all telcos and foreign gear vendors — except China’s Huawei and ZTE.

The new guidelines issued by NCSC clearly identify telecom equipment vendors and new government requirements for equipment supply continuity across the telecom sector. Under the new guidelines, the vendor will be required to provide all information related to equipment to telecom companies importing them who will further inform NCSC about the gear imports.

NCSC has also shared a list of ‘trusted sources’, for equipment imports, while notifying the kind of data required to be shared with government agencies along with the list of products. The agency has, however, ensured that all the data shared by government agencies will be strictly confidential.

The new set of procurement norms will come into force on June 16. The NCSC meanwhile, also plans to launch a portal on April 15 and notify the categories of gear for which the security code related to trusted sources is applicable.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has recently amended telco permits, mandating them to use network equipment only from ‘trusted sources’ from June 15, a move widely believed to be aimed at keeping Chinese telecom equipment companies in check.

During the NCSC meeting, the cybersecurity agency also gave a detailed presentation on the flow of the procurement rules and the flow. In recent times Indian telecom companies are pushing the government to clear its stance on whether Chinese vendors will be allowed to participate in India’s 5G trials and rollouts.


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