In what it calls to be a relief to the broadband customers, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has directed the telecom service providers to inform the broadband subscribers about the usage limits, especially at the point when they cross the 50%, 90% and 100% of their usage quota. Also, TRAI has asked them to ensure that the download speed should be 512Kbps at all times even after the subscriber uses his assigned data limit.
According to the telecom department, broadband is a “data connection that supports interactive services, including internet access, capable of a minimum download speed of 512 kbps to an individual subscriber.” This is an amended definition (amended in 2013). Only when the telecom service providers offer the speed of 512Kbps, this definition can be met in the true sense.
The TRAI has informed its decision to operators via a directive, reported Economic Times (ET).
Meanwhile, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has not commented to the new directive. The association, which represents country’s biggest operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, and Idea Cellular, said that it is studying the new directive of TRAI.
COAI along with the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers Association of India (AUSPI) had earlier expressed their disinterest in keeping 512Kbps as a minimum speed. They opposed the definition in their response to a consultation paper floated by TRAI back in February. According to COAI and AUSPI, the regulator should not specify a minimum speed after the data limit got exhausted, if the service has to remain affordable.
Currently, the operators throttle the speed once the usage limit is exhausted.
In terms of informing the subscribers about the usage of the data, operators should provide the alerts to customers through SMS every time when they cross the 50%, 90%, and 100% limit reports LiveMint (PTI). There should also be a portal accessible to the subscriber that will enable him/her to check the status of his usage limit.
According to the directive, for the fixed broadband subscribers, the companies have to specify data usage limit and the promised speeds, as well as the speed of the connection after excess usage. For the mobile users, they should know the technology they are using, usage quota, speed offered, and the speed after the limit on the portal as well as on the advertisements.
TRAI said that the new directive is to ensure transparency in the delivery of internet.