MUMBAI, APR 4 : The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) will now play a bigger role in keeping a check on the quality of broadband access being provided by service providers.
“We see that broadband is an issue. We are planning to come up with a mechanism to review the quality of broadband,” said J S Sharma, chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). Sharma also said this move was important now, after the 3G launch. Telecom operators who have won 3G licences are launching and marketing 3G-powered broadband.
This move by Trai could come as a boon to many consumers who have been protesting against the bad network quality of broadband across the country.
Many consumers have lodged complaints to the regulator, and talk about their grievances in online forums like broadbandforum.in and indiabroadband.net.
Most consumers complain they never get the speeds promised by their operators. Like Vishal Saxena, who had taken a broadband connection, and was told his would get speeds as high as 512 mbps. “I have never experienced the promised speed in the past two years. My connection speeds are at 100 kbps on a regular basis,” he said.
The connections have a contention speed where they get one-eighth of the speed as promised. Telecom operators also do not promise a minimum speed to users. However, there have been cases where speeds have dropped to unimaginable lows.
Niranjan Das, a customer from Jaipur, complains there are times when his connection just stops working. “The speed will drop to zero sometimes. I have been following up with the customer care for ages and can never get a decent response. I have decided to change operators,” he laments. Fair usage policies fixed by almost all telecom operators are also a concern for most consumers. In this policy, consumers who are on unlimited plans experience a drastic reduction in speed after they reach a certain download limit. A 3.1 mbps speed connection can fall to as low as 128 kbps if a consumer was to cross the assigned download speed.
Consumers argue this beats the idea of unlimited plans, which are used by regular surfers, at huge premiums. Also, the so-called ‘throttling’ by consumers leads to speeds dropping below 256 kbps. By Trai definition, broadband connections should have speeds higher than 256 kbps.