The Telecom Commission today said a new National Trust Centre will be created for certifying devices and applications for machine-to-machine communication, a new-age technology that is at the heart of concepts like smart homes. 

It has also decided to form an apex body for this technology segment and its members will include representatives from other regulatory authorities like National Highways Authority of India and Central Electricity Regulatory Commission. 

Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications forms the basis for automated information exchange between machines. It can impact various industries like smart cities and grids, transportation systems and healthcare, among others. 

According to some estimates, the number of connected devices in India is projected to touch about 275 million by 2020. 

"... a new institution will be set up called NTC, which will be there for certifying M2M devices and applications...This is not so much for existing mobiles ... this is for all the new categories of applications being developed," Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said adding that India is aspiring to become a major centre for M2M technology. 

She noted that the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) and Standardisation Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) will spell out the detailed security parameters. 

Stating that TRAI's recommendations on M2M have been accepted, Sundararajan said that "all access providers holding any kind of licence shall be allowed to provide M2M connectivity" but they will have to register as M2M service providers. 

The process of registration will be kept simple and those operating on unlicensed spectrum in a smaller service area will not have to procure a licence, she said citing the example of a health clinic that has connected machines communicating with each other. 

Aiming to grow the M2M segment, the government has also decided against levying performance bank guarantee or financial bank guarantees from players providing M2M services in limited geographies. 

However, those operating in unlicensed spectrum but using wide area networks will come under the category of licensing and there will be a new authorisation called UL - Universal Licence M2M, which in turn, she said. 

For the larger players, the entry fee and bank guarantee have been kept at a nominal rate. The Telecom Commission has also decided that no spectrum band will be allocated exclusively for these services. 

"TRAI had also said that 1MHz of spectrum from 867-868 MHz and 6 MHz of spectrum at 915-935MHz shall be delicensed. So it was agreed," she said adding that the M2M tariffs will be under forbearance. 

On cloud, the Telecom Commission favoured a "light touch regulatory framework" and will ask cloud service providers to form industry associations that will be registered. 

"DoT can issue directions to the industry bodies, it can withdraw or cancel registration of industry body if it finds breaches. A cloud service advisory group comprising all stakeholders will be constituted," she said. 

The Telecom Commission -- which is the highest decision-making body of the Telecom Department -- also took note of reports that suggest that cloud can create more than one million jobs. 

Also, the Telecom Commission has decided that BSNL would be asked to take up projects (to connect about 44,000 gram panchayats) under BharatNet and be given a five per cent incentive if the state-run telecom operator meets the December deadline. 

"Similarly, last mile connectivity also, that if it is completed within four months of awarding the work, then five per cent incentive will be given to them," she said. 

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