With a view to improve the Ease of Doing Business of the IT Industry particularly Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and IT Enabled Services, the Department of Telecommunications has issued new Guidelines for *Other Service Providers (“OSPs”) (“Guidelines”) in suppression of the existing Guidelines.
The new Guidelines aim at reducing the compliance burden of the BPO industry. Further, the registration requirement of OSPs has been done away with. In addition, requirements such as deposit of bank guarantees, requirement for static IPs, frequent reporting obligations, publication of network diagram, penal provisions etc. have also been removed. Similarly, several other requirements, which prevented companies from adopting ‘Work from Home’ and ‘Work from Anywhere’ policies have also been removed.
A. General Guidelines for OSPs:
- Requirement of Registration-
- Under the Guidelines the OSP centres in India will not require a registration certificate.
- Special dispensations for OSPs:
- For the OSPs the collection, conversion, carriage and exchange of the **PSTN/PLMN/ISDN traffic over the Virtual Private network (NPLC, MPLS VPN) interconnecting the different OSP Centres is permissible
- The International OSPs are allowed to carry the aggregated switched voice traffic from their POP in a foreign country to their OSP centre in India over leased line/MPLS VPN.
- Interconnectivity of two or more Domestic OSP Centres of the same Company or group of companies is permitted. Similarly, interconnectivity among International OSP Centres is permitted.
- Interconnection of Remote Agent to the OSP centre/resources is permitted.
- An OSP having multiple centres may obtain internet connection at a centralised location and this internet can be accessed from other OSP centres using leased circuits/ MPLS VPN.
- OSPs can now operate under:
- Work From Home (WFH)
- Work From Anywhere (WFA) in India
- Infrastructure sharing
- Centralized EPABX (i.e., Distributed Architecture of EPABX)
- The new Guidelines does away with the requirement of Bank Guarantee for any facility or dispensation under these Guidelines.
- The concept of Work-From-Home/ Work-From-Anywhere will be treated as Extended Agent Position/ Remote Agent of the OSP.
- Interconnectivity between OSP centres belonging to different OSP companies are permitted.
- The Guidelines prohibit the bypass of licensed International Long Distance Operator (“ILDO”) and National Long Distance Operator (“NLDO”) jurisdiction.
- EPABX at foreign location in case of international OSP will be allowed. However, the OSP has to take all the necessary measures to comply with the requirements of relevant provisions of Indian laws including applicable data privacy laws.
In addition, the OSP has to maintain a copy of CDR and System logs in storage at any of its OSP centres in India.
B. Guidelines for sharing infrastructure between International OSP and Domestic OSP, Use of Distributed Architecture of EPABX and Use of CUG:
- Sharing of the infrastructure by the Domestic OSP and International OSP has been permitted.
- Sharing the EPABX of International OSP Centre, Domestic OSP Centre and PSTN lines for office use is permitted subject to the condition that OSPs have to ensure that no bypass of the network of the Authorized Telecom Service Providers is caused.
- Use of distributed architecture of EPABX for OSP centers across India:
- OSPs can have a distributed architecture of EPABX (main EPABX at a centralized location and media gateways at individual OSP centers) for their OSP centers across India, where the EPABX is owned by OSP. The provisions of sharing the infrastructure would apply.
- OSPs have to preserve the CDRs for all the voice traffic carried using the EPABX. The CDRs shall be segregated for each media gateway.
- Use of Closed User Group (CUG) for internal communication of the OSP company:
- The interconnectivity of the OSPs is permitted for the same company or same group of companies for internal communication and for its operations.
- Further, the OSPs are permitted to use CUG facility for their internal communication needs.
C. Work From Home (WFH)/ Work From Anywhere (WFA):
The concept of Work-From-Home is encouraged under these Guidelines and has been extended to provide Work-From-Anywhere in India.
This facility of Extended Agent/ Remote Agent Position (i.e. Work-From- Home/ Anywhere) is permitted with the following conditions which the OSPs have to adhere to:
- The agents at home must be treated as Remote Agents of the OSP Centre and interconnection is permitted.
- The Remote Agent should also be allowed to work from any place within India.
- The OSPs will be responsible for any violation related to toll-bypass.
D. Security Conditions:
- For EPABX installed at locations different than the OSP Centre, the remote access of all CDRs, access log, configurations of EPABX and routing tables must be made available on demand from Authority/ Law Enforcing Agencies from at least one of the OSP centres.
- The location of EPABX and client’s Data Centre of Domestic OSPs must be within India.
- The OSP should ensure not to engage in the provision of any Telecom Services.
- On specific instances of infringements such as carriage of objectionable, obscene, unauthorized messages or communications infringing copyright, intellectual property etc. in any form on their networks, the OSP must ensure to prevent the carriage of such material on the networks immediately.
- The OSP must extend support to the Authority in tracing any nuisance, obnoxious or malicious calls, messages or communications transported through its equipment and network.
- OSPs must preserve the CDRs for all the voice traffic carried using the EPABX. The CDRs must be segregated for each media gateway. It must be possible to view the CDR data along with details of the agent manning the position by remote login to CDR machine/ server. The time-stamp in the CDRs in the system(s) of the OSP must be synchronized with the Indian Standard Time.
- In all the above cases, CDRs / UDRs / System logs, etc. must be maintained for a period of one year.
- For Work-From-Home/ Work-From-Anywhere, the OSP must ensure that the system logs are tamper-proof and the CDRs/ all logs of the activities carried out by the Extended Agent must be maintained for one year.
*Other Service Provider- Other Service Provider’ (OSP) is an Indian company, registered under the Indian Companies Act, 2013 or an LLP (Limited Liability Partnership) registered under LLP Act, 2008 or a partnership firm or an organization registered under Shops and Establishment Act or a Legal Person providing voice based Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services.
**PSTN/ PLMN/ ISDN:
PSTN- Public Switched Telecom Network
PLMN- Public Land Mobile Network
ISDN- Integrated Services Digital Network