Centre for Internet & Society

CIS filed requests under the Right to Information with the Department of Telecommunications, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, BSNL and MTNL, asking a number of questions related to the use of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology by Internet Service Providers (ISP) in India and corresponding regulations.

We raised the following questions with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI):

  1. Do ISP's in India (public and private) use DPI technology? Please provide details of all ISPs known to use this technology.
  2. Please provide copies of documents relating to rules and regulations and license agreements for use of DPI (infrastructure and processes) by ISPs in India.
  3. What are the purposes for which this technology is used in India?
  4. Please provide details and copies of documents relating to regulation of network traffic management by ISPs in India.

DoT has responded to this application, while the response from the TRAI is awaited.

According to the DoT response to the RTI "as per the present License for provision of Internet Services, based on Internet Guidelines dated 24/08/2007, there is no direction/reference for DPI as mentioned in your RTI application."

The following questions were asked of BSNL/ MTNL:

  • As a national Internet service Provider, does BSNL deploy DPI on any Internet network in India? If so, please provide details of equipment used, including, but not limited to
  1. Hardware and software
  2. Details of purchase (manufacturer, date, price)
  3. Technical specifications
  • Please provide details of the nature of information obtained through DPI of Internet networks and clear details of what purpose such information is used for.
  • Please provide details and copy of documents pertaining to traffic management and traffic shaping policies followed by BSNL.

MTNL has responded to the application, while the response from BSNL is awaited. In response to the above questions, MTNL sent the following reply:

  1. MTNL does not do any DPI.
    a. 1(1), 1(2), 1(3): not applicable in view of reply 1 above
  2. Not applicable in view of reply 1 above.
  3. Not applicable in view of reply 1 above.

While MTNL has denied the deployment of DPI technology in their networks, it is interesting to note that they have avoided providing details of their traffic management policies.

For a scanned version of the response we got from the Department of Telecommunications, click here.

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