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Vietnam's Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) is reportedly considering a mandate that foreign companies wishing to offer domestic satellite telecommunications services must establish a gateway station within the country.

According to VNA, the new requirement is included in a draft decree that contains articles and measures for implementing the upcoming Law on Telecommunications (LOT) 2023. The law will define satellite broadband services like Starlink as cross-border.

The proposed regulations, intended as updates to the existing Law on Telecommunications from 2009, stipulate that foreign satellite service providers must guarantee all traffic originating from satellite subscriber terminals in Vietnam passes through a local ground gateway connected to the public telecommunications network. They must also meet the capital and investment requirements.

According to the report, contributed charter capital must be at least VND 30 billion (USD 1.2 million), and total network investment capital must be at least VND 100 billion within the first three years.

Foreign satellite service providers must also have a commercial agreement with a licensed domestic telecommunications enterprise, as well as a technical plan for ensuring information security, performing emergency prevention, and shutting down services when required by relevant state agencies.

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) holds the view that cross-border satellite communications present a significant risk. There's concern that data from Vietnamese internet users could potentially be collected and utilized illegally through such channels. This concern arises due to the lack of oversight and control over data transmission processes that occur outside of Vietnam's jurisdiction.

As a result, the proposed regulations aim to mitigate this risk by requiring foreign satellite service providers to route all satellite traffic through a local ground gateway connected to Vietnam's public telecommunications network. This ensures that data transmissions are subject to Vietnamese regulations and oversight, thereby enhancing data security and privacy for Vietnamese internet users.

The draft decree is open for comment until early April. The new telecoms law is scheduled to take effect on July 1.

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