India Bars ZTE, Huawei, Others from Sensitive Government Projects

The NOFN project is a highly ambitious project by the Department of Telecom (DoT), India, which will see even the rural areas of the biggest democracy in the world get high-speed internet connectivity. To be jointly implemented by state owned telecom companies BSNL and MTNL, the project will require state of the art equipment that supports Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON).

The DoT has decided that it will be going ahead with a 100 per cent domestic sourcing and has released a list of certified GPON suppliers. This decision comes after the research wing of the ministry C-DoT advised the telecom department to bar Chinese companies like ZTE and Huawei keeping in line with a similar decision by the US. In an internal memo, the research body advised the department that both these Chinese companies are a security threat to the telecom world across the globe.

Above and beyond the two companies, the department went all-in and has barred international companies including Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, and Alcatel Lucent. There have been no comments from any of these companies yet but, many in the telecom world question the move as the local companies may yet not have the readiness to pull off such a huge project without the help of international players.

Local companies that made it to the certified list include Tejas Networks, Prithvi Infosystems, Center for Development of Telematics (C-DoT), VMC Systems, Sai Systems, United Telecoms, and SM Creative.