The Indian telecom watchdog, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has said that it plans to set in place pre-launch network testing rules for wired broadband operators similar to how they exist for mobile services. It is worth noting that Trai has very clear rules defining how long a mobile service provider can offer free services and how many subscribers it can amass in this period, but there are no such rules in place with Trai for wired broadband service providers. In the coming days now, the industry regulator is expected to follow up with a consultation process to draft rules for these wired broadband service providers.
Reliance Jio Currently Conducting Trials for GigaFiber FTTH Service
As per a mint report, an anonymous person aware of the matter said, “Trai will start the consultation on this...the process will take six months at least.” These new rules would come before the commercial launch of the Reliance Jio GigaFiber, the new FTTH (fibre-to-the-home) service announced by the Mukesh Ambani led telecom operator, Reliance Jio Infocomm in 2018. As such, Reliance Jio will then be under the scrutiny before the launch of its GigaFiber service wired broadband service.
It is worth noting that currently, Reliance Jio has been offering free 100 Mbps internet to homes in many metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai only against a security deposit of Rs 4,500. This has been going on for two years and is part of Reliance Jio’s trials for GigaFiber before the service goes live officially in other cities of the country. To recall, Reliance Jio had announced the launch of the service in its 41st annual general shareholders meeting in July 2018. Currently, the latest update about the service says that it will be rolled out to 1,600 cities and as for the tariff of the service, we know that the telco will be providing a Triple Play plan to the subscribers offering a broadband-landline-TV combo service for Rs 600 a month.
Rules for Wired Services Testing Will Regulate Telcos like Reliance Jio
In December 2017, Trai had introduced rules for wireless network testing mandating that operators should be given only a maximum of 90 days for concluding network testing. Also, this new rule had mandated that the total number of subscribers enrolled for network testing should be limited to 5% of its installed network capacity for that area.
These rules were put in place after the incumbent telcos had asserted that the regulator had failed to keep a check on the regulations related to wireless network testing after the entry of Reliance Jio in the market in 2016. The telecom operators had said that Reliance Jio was enrolling subscribers at an unprecedented rate under the name of test connections. Now that Reliance Jio is on the verge of launching a new service, the telecom regulator thinks that the rules for wired broadband testing should also be brought into effect.