The Chhattisgarh high court has issued notices to the telecom department (DoT), the Telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI) and TERM cell, Chhattisgarh on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a 61-year-old social worker Dilip Kumar Bhandari on minimum broadband speeds in India.
The court has fixed next date of hearing for December 5, and sought answers from these authorities over the issue.
The petitioner, in his PIL, said that these authorities are not complying and ignoring the National Telecom Policy 2012 on revising existing broadband speed.
The policy clearly mentions revising existing broadband speed from 256 Kbps to 512 Kbps and subsequently to 2 Mbps by 2015 and higher speeds of at least 100 Mbps thereafter. The policy also talks about providing affordable and reliable broadband on demand by the year 2015 and to achieve 175 million broadband connections by the year 2017 and 600 million by the year 2020 at minimum 2 Mbps download speed.
The petitioner said some countries have started to put in place legislation to make internet as a "Fundamental human right" so that the access to the internet is a human right for their citizens. The regulator authority on May 24 this year recommended that the current definition of broadband in country be reviewed and minimum download speed be increased to 2 Mbps.
The PIL said that the Internet Service providers have already adopted a "Fair Usage Policy" that enables them to throttle the internet speed after certain limit and drag it down to minimum 512 Kbps which is a direct effect of "Impugned definition, which allows the minimum speed of broadband as 512 Kbps.
The DoT had issued a notification in 2015 through which the speed of 256 Kbps was increased to 512Kbps. However, the existing 512 Kbps speeds are one of the lowest average of broadband speeds in Asia and remains below the global average speed of 5 Mbps.
The petitioner said such a minimum slow speed of 512 Kbps is proving detrimental as People now days have started using different platforms on different operating system which has led to many data consuming applications.