Leased line customers required to report WiFi usage to their ISPs

Today we received an email from Tata Communications (VSNL), our leased line provider. The govt has asked all their (ISPs in general) customers to get it in writing from their customers about the WiFi usage. The govt, especially under the new Home Minister Chidambaram has been taking some steps to counter terrorism.

We basically need to inform our ISP if we are using WiFi and need to assure them it is secure. Not sure how the govt can force users to report. In my opinion good citizens will report, the rogues would anyway not report. When something goes wrong the govt will first come after the folks who had declared they have WiFi – this is just like Income Tax – the folks who pay face the brunt (more and more taxes every year, more accountability).

Recently the govt asked all email providers to host their servers in India. The community has been unhappy and have been very verbal about it on the net.

Date 9-4-2009

Dear Customer,

Sub.: Important DoT Notification requiring your action

TCL has been providing you Internet Leased Line (ILL) services, as per terms and conditions of the service, enabling you to access internet.

Due to recent cases of misuse of internet by anti-social and anti-national elements, especially through unlicensed band of WiFi technology at customer premises, the Department Of Telecom (DoT) has issued a notification on 23-02-09(No 820-1/2008-DS Pt.II dtd 23-02-09) for ensuring secure use of WiFi based internet access under the delincensed frequency band.

A copy of the said instructions is available on the following link:

We request you to peruse the entire document for necessary actions. We are also reproducing a copy of the DoT letter dtd 23-02-09 at the end of this message.

In accordance with the above instructions from DOT, you are requested to kindly intimate us in writing within one month from the date of this mail, whether the internet access provided to you through our ILL service is being used to run a WiFi network for further distribution within your campus/location/organization. You may please send in your confirmation to xyz.

Please note that in case, we do not receive any reply from you within the stipulated tme period., we will have to presume that you have ensured that the internet access service provided to you is NOT being used in whatsoever manner for enabling further Internet access within your campus/location/organization or to your customers, either on a paid or free basis, through application of Wi-Fi technology. Any resale of bandwidth through any technological means shall require compliance of DoT guidelines and instructions that are mentioned in the above link.

Please be informed that Tata Communications will not be in any way held responsible or answerable in case any such unauthorized usage of WiFi technology is detected within your campus by the concerned authorities resulting in the non-compliance of the DoT order dated 23-02-09. The Authorities may include the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), TERM Cells of DoT, Local and all other Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) and any such other authority. Please note that any liability, including civil and criminal, for such unauthorized use and any resulting event connected thereto will be your sole responsibility. We would also be constrained to withdraw our services without any further notice in such an eventuality and without any liability on our part.

In case you are using WiFi technology at your premises, we would like to invite your kind attention to Para I(c) on page 3 of the DOT instructions referred above. According to the instructions, you are required to set up and maintain centralized authentication for your internet usage/WiFi services and confirm compliance to the DoT instructions in writing within a month from the date of this email.

In case you are not able to provision the same on your own but wish to continue providing such services, we would be happy to provide you assistance for the same on a commercial basis, details of which can be provided by us. We are happy to mention that we are India’s largest commercial Wi-Fi operator with services available in close to 600 locations. Our current partners include marquee brands and companies like Taj Hotels, Le Meridien, Barista, GMR Hyderabad International Airport, etc. You may please note that providing such centralized authentication in order to meet DoT stipulations may necessitate changing our backend infrastructure.

Thank you for your immediate response and co-operation on this issue in the interest of national security. We look forward to being your partner for all your telecom requirements.

Thanking you,

Yours faithfully,

Customer Service,
Tata Communications Ltd.


Department Of Telecommunications
Sanchar Bhavan. 20. Ashoka Road, New Delhi – 110001

No. – 820-1/2008-DS Pt. II                                                              Dated: 23.02. 2009


All Internet Service Providers

Subject:           Instructions under the Internet Service License regarding provision of Wi-Fi internet service under delicensed frequency band.

In the recent past concerns have been raised that Wi-Fi Networks were being misused by Anti-social elements. Insecure Wi-Fi networks are capable of being misused without any trail of user at later date. In order address the issue of insecure Wi-Fi network, all the Internet Service Providers are hereby instructed to the following procedure for a secure use of Wi-Fi services under the delicensed frequency band in the interest of security of the nation with immediate effect.


    1. Internet services(Wired/Wireless) provided by Licencee to new Subscriber
      1. Licencee will ensure a registered and secure Internet service including Wi-Fi connectivity through user Login ID and password to all the subscribers with central authentication mechanism
      2. Licencee shall deploy suitable Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) for wired/ wireless internet connectivity at subscriber end, in keeping in view the further deployment of Wi-Fi connectivity for implementing the (i) above
      3. Licencee shall ensure that unique user ID and Password do not have provisions for simultaneous multiple logins. Licencee may give more than one user ID and Password to a single subscriber for multiple usage for his internet account
      4. Licencee shall put a clause in Subscriber Agreement of new subscribers that any Wi-Fi connectivity deployed by subscriber has to be activated only after it is registered for centralized authentication with the Licencee
    2. Wi-Fi services provided at public places i.e Hotels, Restaurant, Airports Malls, shops, Railways stations through hotspot.
      1. Licencee shall create bulk Login ID’s at each Wi-Fi hotspot location for controlled distribution. The authentication shall be done at a centralized server only which could be a POP location at the service provider
      2. Licencee or its Franchisee shall register the Subscribers for providing temporary Login ID and password for the use of public Wi-Fi spot through either of the following methods:
        1. Retaining a copy of Photo Identity of the subscriber with Licenceee which shall be preserved by the Licencee for a period of one year.
        2. Provisioning of Login-ID and Password through SMS on subscriber’s mobile phone through automated process and keeping mobile number of subscriber as the identity of the internet subscriber with reference to Login-ID provided for a period of one year. In such cases, photo identity may not be necessary


    1. Internet subscriber on Lease Lines
      1. Licensee will direct and take compliance from Leased line based internet subscribers to setup and maintain centralized authentication themselves for Internet Services including Wi-Fi usage. Leased line based internet subscribers shall also have the option to get the centralized authentication for their internet usage by the respective Licencee.


    1. Wi-Fi services deployed by existing subscriber
      1. Licencee shall ensure compliance to Para (I)(a)(i) to (I)(a)(iii) for all existing Wi-Fi customers who have taken Wi-Fi services from Licencee.
      2. The Licencee will inform their Internet subscriber about registering Wi-Fi connectivity with Licencee through monthly bills, emails etc. at regular interval.
      3. Efforts shall also be made to create awareness among public for using registered Wi-Fi connectivity.
      4. Licencee shall direct its existing Internet subscribers, including those who have deployed Wi-Fi routers themselves, to get the Wi-Fi Internet connectivity registered with Licencee within four months
      5. If it comes to the notice of Licensee that the internet subscriber has not registered with the licensee and is using Wi-Fi connectivity, Licensee is hereby directed to suspend the internet services to such subscribers till they are registered with the Licencee.

(II). Para I(a)(i) to I(a)(iii) shall also be applicable for provisions in Para (i)(b)&(c) also, All the above actions shall be implemented within four months

(Subodh Saxena)

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