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Regulatory Framework for Promoting Data Economy

Regulatory Framework Highlights India

  • National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) 2018 envisages “Evolving enabling regulatory frameworks and incentives for promoting the establishment of DCs, CDNs and IXPs in India.
  • Accordingly, TRAI issued detailed Consultation Paper (CP) on the subject after considering inputs from the stakeholders during consultation process and further analysis of the issues.
  • TRAI has finalized these Recommendations to boost the digital infrastructure ecosystem in the country including DCs, CDNs and IXPs.

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Regulatory Framework in India: Data Economy

  • Data economy is a digital ecosystem where relevant data from all possible sources, is gathered, organized, optimized, engaged and exchanged for deriving value.
  • It is fast acquiring greater public and private space across the globe and helps in creating high-quality jobs and enable companies across all sectors to expand successfully and serve their customers.
  • The data economy growth is dependent on availability of digital infrastructure. Following are components of a digital ecosystem that are critical for the success of data economy:
Regulatory Framework for Promoting Data Economy
Regulatory Framework for Promoting Data Economy

Highlights of the Recommendations by the TRAI

Data Centres (DCs)

  • Data Centre Incentivisation Scheme (DCIS):  TRAI has recommended bringing out the DCIS for establishing DCs and Data Centre Parks (Dc Parks). DCIS to have two list of incentives –
    • Certain Centre specific fiscal and non-fiscal incentives can be rolled out by the Central Government.
    • The other in the form of a guideline to the States; leaving flexibility to States to announce fiscal incentives through their policies.
  • Data Centre Specific Portal: Operationalizing a Data Centre specific portal on National Single Window System (NSWS) for
    • Time-bound single window clearances
    • Online registration of new DCs/DC Park operators without any obligation or registration fees.
    • Announcement of schemes & benefits, addressing queries, and grievance redressal.
  • A national level DC Readiness Index (DCRI) framework: To rank Indian states as per their suitability to promote DC sector.
  • DC Economic Zones (DCEZs): SEZs should be identified in states for either converting them into DCEZs or for carving out zones out of these SEZs for establishing DCs/DC parks.
  • Green DCs: Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) along with Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC) should be entrusted with the task of framing certification standards of green DCs in India.
  • Capacity building: National Telecom Institute for Policy Research & Training (NTIPRIT) under MeitY, AICTE and Telecom Sector Skill Council (TSSC) should closely collaborate with DC industry to develop tailor-made short and long-term courses.

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

  • Simple registration: TRAI has recommended that CDN players should be registered with DoT through a simple online registration process.
  • Along the lines of DCs: The incentives recommended for DCs should also help in proliferation of CDNs in the country and this would in turn provide a boost to the digital infrastructure ecosystem, including CDNs and IXPs.

Interconnect Exchanges Providers (IXPs)

  • The problem: Currently, IXPs are required to obtain ISPs license which has several onerous licensing conditions related to subscriber verification, security etc. which are not relevant to them. This creates artificial entry barriers.
  • The recommendation: To address this issue and promote setting up of more IXPs, especially in Tier-II and Tier-III cities, TRAI has recommended that a separate authorization in Unified License may be created for IXPs with terms and conditions that are much less onerous than ISP license authorization.

Addressing Demand Side Issues of Digital Data Infrastructure

  • Data digitization, sharing and monetization: A statutory body Data Digitization and Monetization Council (DDMC) for steering the data digitization drive be prescribed at the Centre.
  • Data Ownership: Government should put in place a data sharing and consent management framework on lines of DEPA framework to provide telecom subscribers consent based option to share their KYC data with recipient TSP when they port their numbers.
  • Data Ethics: DDMC should also be entrusted with responsibility of putting in place an overarching framework for ethical use of data both by Government as well as by corporate in India.

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