The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Monday issued guidelines to ensure that internet service providers and telecom operators provide the minimum required broadband speed to their customers.
However, many fear that the move will increase broadband tariffs as operators will have to buy more bandwidth to maintain the new norms.
The regulator has fixed a minimum 'contention ratio number' of users who can share the same bandwidth to ensure that customers get better and higher broadband speeds. Earlier, there was no such restriction on operators and they were offering the service at a contention ratio of 1:80 to 1:100 (which means the same bandwidth would be used by 80 to 100 customers). Under the new guidelines, the contention ratio for broadband at home has been fixed at 1:50 and for business at 1:30.
A senior executive of a leading ISP said: "It will be good for customers, but operators may have to buy more bandwidth and therefore the tariffs for broadband will go up. Also, even at the existing ratio, consumers will not get more than 64 kbps speeds."
In pursuance of its regulation on 'Quality of Service of Broadband Services' in October 2006, the regulator had issued a consultation paper on the bandwidth required for ISPs for better connectivity and improved quality of service.
In its guidelines, Trai said, 'There have been complaints from subscribers regarding inadequate broadband speed being provided by the ISPs. Most of the complaints allege that the available broadband speed is lower than the subscribed speed.'Trai further said that though the existing regulations stipulated parameters for speed of connection and bandwidth utilisation, monitoring these was difficult. In such a scenario, it was important to enhance subscriber education and awareness for better understanding of internet services, it added.