TRAI releases draft direction on delivering broadband services in a transparent manner
For fixed broadband service, the authority has directed telcos to provide (i) data usage limit with a specified speed; (ii) speed of broadband connection up to a specified data usage limit; and (iii) speed of broadband connection beyond data usage limit. The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) vide a notification dated the 18th July, 2013, amended the definition of broadband which reads as under: “Broadband is a data connection that is able to support interactive services including internet access and has the capability of the minimum download speed of 512 kbps to an individual subscriber from the point of presence (POP) of the service provider intending to provide broadband service”. All the telecom companies providing broadband (wire-line or wireless) services have been directed to provide on their websites as well as in all advertisements the usage details of all broadband tariff plans offered under Fair Usage Policy.
For mobile broadband, the telecom regulator said the data usage limit with specified technology (3G or 4G) for providing services has to be specified. As per the proposal, telecom operators should “ensure that download speed of broadband service provided to the fixed broadband subscriber is not reduced below 512Kbps in any broadband tariff plan”. It also wants them to specify data usage limits for 3G and 4G technologies for the benefit of customers.
In the draft, Trai has reiterated direction to service providers that they should provide alert to the subscriber when the data usage reaches 80 percent of the data usage limit under his plan. In a media statement, Trai said it wants broadband service providers to “furnish compliance to the new direction to ensure transparency in delivery of internet and broadband services and to also protect the interest of consumers”. Trai has sought comments and counter-comments from all industry stakeholders on its new broadband delivery compliance direction by February 1 and 8 respectively.