Secure telecom network for home

The Department of Telecom is planning to create a secure network for defence and official requirements, which will dispel concerns that 74 per cent FDI in the sector could compromise national security.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting attended by officials from Intelligence Bureau, C-DoT and defence forces earlier this week.

This is in accordance with a decision of the Cabinet, which had asked DoT to put in place a safe network for government and defence use while allowing the FDI hike.

DoT has formed a sub-committee with member (technology) K Sridhara as the chairman to finalise the architecture of such a network by July 31.

The network, which will be for inter-departmental classified communications, seeks to “have a modular architecture and mainly for voice communications for the time being,” DoT officials said.

But at a later stage, the network can take care of the data communication needs as well.

The three-phase project envisages voice communication for the national capital, followed by state capitals and district headquarters. The final phase will see data communication needs incorporated in the network.

One of the security conditions of the government, while enhancing FDI limit in telecom sector, was that “in order to maintain the privacy of voice and data, monitoring shall only be upon authorisation by the Union Home Secretary or Home Secretaries of the States/Union Territories.”

With most of the security conditions like allowing foreign CEOs to head Indian companies diluted, the defence and home ministries do not want to take chances at least on the voice call front, which involves important discussions with regard to external and internal security.