Minimum Downloading speed increased 8 times more for broadband users: TRAI
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday asked fixed or `wired' broadband operators to ensure a minimum 512 kbps download speed at all times, , citing the telecom department's amended definition of "broadband" notified in July 2013.
The authority has increased the download speed 8 times than it was earlier. Instead of the earlier 64 Kbps download speed, users will now get a minimum download speed of 512 Kbps, even after the assigned data quota expires in case of fixed broadband services.
Broadband, according to DoT's amended definition is a data connection that supports interactive services, including internet access, capable of a minimum download speed of 512 kbps to an individual subscriber.
In order to bring more transparency and help consumers keep track on data usage, TRAI has directed all service providers providing broadband (wire-line or wireless) services to provide on their website and also in all advertisements published through any media, the following information in respect of all broadband tariff plans offered under Fair Usage Policy:
1. For Fixed broadband service:
• Data usage limit with specified speed
• Speed of broadband connection up to specified data usage limit, and
• Speed of broadband connection beyond data usage limit
2. For Mobile broadband service:
Mobile broadband service providers will have to specify the technology (3G/4G) used for providing the data services along with the following:
• Data usage limit.
• Speed offered for providing data services beyond data usage limit.
The operator has to provide the above mentioned information to both new and existing subscribers on their registered e-mail address and through SMS on their mobile number registered with the service provider.
The authority has also directed service providers to inform customers about the extent to which speed of connection will be reduced in case users breach the ‘fair usage’ or data quota cap.
Currently, service providers reduce the data speed for the remaining period if the assigned data quota expires.
Trai has also asked mobile broadband operators to alert customers through text messages and email once they progressively exhaust 50%, 90% and 100% of their data usage limits based on their tariff plans. Telecom service providers must also maintain a portal/ website, where users can check their usage at any point of time.
In India, the average Internet speed is around 2.5 mbps, which is the slowest Internet speed in entire Asia Pacific region.
How Telecom operators’ will be affected?
Trai's directive has dealt a blow to fixed broadband operators such as Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Sistema Shyam Teleservices among others who had earlier this year urged the regulator to allow throttling of speeds down to 64 kbps once a customer uses up the assigned quota to prevent misuse of fixed broadband services beyond the designated quota.
They had written to TRAI that in case 512 kbps minimum speed was forced upon them, then their companies would suffer heavy losses and customers will take ‘advantage of them’.
Cellular Operators Association of India and Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India, which are powerful lobbies of telecom service providers, had strongly campaigned to convince TRAI that 512 kbps would be too much for Indians, and telcos should be allowed to throttle speed below that.
Fortunately, TRAI didn’t change 512 kbps minimum speed, but neither did they increased it to 1 mbps, which was what actually needed for a fast growing country like India. Telecom operator’s pressure tactics certainly worked here, as they ensured that minimum speed doesn’t go beyond 512 kbps.
However, the standard which TRAI has set for fixed line internet in India is still very low – Lower than developing countries, and lower than what our neighbors in Asia are getting.