Exemptions for WFH facility under OSP registration

April 2020

Vide its letter dated March 13, 2020, the Department of Telecommunications (“DoT”) had granted temporary exemptions from some conditions for Work From Home (“WFH”) facility under the Other Service Provider (“OSP”) registration. On April 15, 2020, the DoT partially modified its earlier letter with an aim to allow greater transparency and flexibility to OSPs. The two key changes are summarized below:

  • The March 13 letter dispensed the requirement for the OSP to put in place a secured VPN facility from an authorized service provider. Instead, OSPs were allowed to self-configure a secured VPN using static IP addresses for interconnection between the OSP center and locations of its home agents. Now, pursuant to the April 15 clarification, OSPs may use either static or dynamic IP addresses (out of a pool private IP assigned for WFH) for interconnection purposes; and
  • OSPs no longer have to seek prior “permission” for providing WFH facility. A prior communication to LSA field units of DoT would suffice. This communication had to include details such as name, physical address of home agents, type of IP pool assigned, etc. However, there was no prescribed format for this communication which led to some ambiguity for the OSPs. Through the April 15 letter, the DoT has provided a format for this communication.

Other key exemptions and requirements under the aforesaid letters are:

  • OSP guidelines permitted WFH facility subject to the OSP (i) depositing INR 1 Crore as security per registered location and (ii) executing an agreement to adhere to the registration T&Cs. Both these requirements have been temporarily suspended through the March 13 letter; and
  • OSPs have to maintain call logs for a year which can be audited by the DoT or any other security agency.

Any violation of terms of WFH facility will attract a penalty of up to INR 5 Lakh per WFH location. It may also result in the OSP’s registration getting cancelled.

The above exemptions/requirements shall remain effective till May 31, 2020 or until further orders, whichever is earlier. The full text of the letter can be accessed at: https://dot.gov.in/sites/default/files/2020_04_15%20WFH%20Relaxations%20OSP.pdf

Resham Jain

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