Tech firms, telcos urge DoT to carefully scrutinize Huawei plan to overhaul internet protocols

Tech firms, telcos urge DoT to carefully scrutinize Huawei plan to overhaul internet protocols

KOLKATA: Tech companies and mobile operators have cautioned the telecom department not to implement in a hurry a proposal from China’s Huawei to overhaul existing protocols and systems governing internet operations in India in the run-up to 5G deployments.
The Broadband India Forum (BIF), which represents Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Qualcomm, Intel, Hughes and Amazon, among others, has urged the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to run a close check on all associated data privacy and data security risks, regulatory concerns, cost implications and internet infrastructure governance issues before taking a firm view on Huawei’s proposal.
“The existing IP framework is still working and there are no credible reasons to believe that they will not continue to adapt to future needs,” BIF president T V Ramachandran said in a letter to the DoT dated September 16, seen by ET.
Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which represents India’s private telcos, declined to comment.
But a senior telco industry executive, backed the view, saying “there is no immediate need for DoT to overhaul India’s internet framework and systems as our existing architecture/protocols – IPv4 and IPv6 – have already addressed some of the concerns flagged by Huawei around internet infrastructure inadequacy in the next-gen networks context, and will get addressed more comprehensively going forward”.
The DoT had recently sought industry views on a year-old Huawei proposal made in the International Telecom Union (ITU), calling on nations, including India, to migrate to a new internet protocol (IP) framework and architecture to manage the complex needs (including security) of next-gen telecom networks that will encompass cutting-edge 5G technologies such as connected smart IoT (internet of things) devices, self-driving cars, holograms to AI.

Tech companies, on their part, have urged the government to buy time from the ITU to assess all regulatory concerns that could be triggered by Huawei’s proposal, especially those around net neutrality, law enforcement and data privacy. It has also urged DoT to check if embracing a new internet operations framework would undermine innovation, drive-up internet usage costs for end-users and restrict internet access.
Huawei’s proposal – backed by China Mobile, China Unicom and China’s ministry of industry & IT – says current global internet infrastructure is “designed for telephones and computers”, and is ill equipped to handle the needs (including security) of heterogeneous networks.
DoT has sought feedback on whether Huawei’s concerns are valid and whether the existing IP framework can support heterogeneous networks and offer intrinsic security. It has also sought cost and time estimates for any migration to the proposed IP framework architecture, and on the scalability of India’s existing internet architecture.

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