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BROADBAND AN OVERVIEW

BROADBAND-AN-OVERVIEW

BROADBAND AN OVERVIEW

  •  only 13.3 million broadband subscribers as against 893 million mobile subscribers as on 31.12.2011.
  •  The target envisaged for broadband to achieve 175 million broadband connections by the year 2017 and 600 million by the year 2020 at minimum 2 Mbps download speed is nowhere in sight.
  •  Only download speed is considered as specification for broadband
  •  In India broadband is defined with a min speed of 256 Kbps. There are almost no countries left now who consider such low speed as broadband. (See annex. I)
  •  No other parameters (like Upload Speed, PING, Jitter, SNR Margin, Line Attenuation, Availability (24x7), Fluctuation within a 24 hour period etc.) are there defining broadband officially.
  •  Quality of Service (QOS) has no meaning without strict defining parameters.
  •  Without defining parameters, benchmarking is not possible either.
  •  Relative tariffs in India in relation to the quality are high compared to other countries. (See Annex. I).
  •  Wireline ISPs like MTNL, VSNL, Airtel and Reliance have infrastructure but do not seem to be going all out to add subscribers.
  •  On the other hand there are ISPs who want to expand, do not have the infrastructure or the capacity to invest in infrastructure.

What Consumer Desires 

1. A robust definition of BROADBAND.

2. Criteria for defining broadband like Upload Speed, PING, Jitter, SNR Margin, Line Attenuation, Availability (24x7), Fluctuation within a 24 hour period etc. in line with international practices.

3. Criteria for Broadband using basic floor parameters compatible with international standards like a minimum speed of say 1 Mbps etc.

4. The ISPs to provide tools to consumers to monitor the parameters on their own to ensure that promised services are delivered to them.

5. Tariffs to be regulated in line with internationally operating tariffs. The criteria for tariff fixation should be-
Prevailing tariffs in major developed as well as comparable developing countries.
• Prevailing voice/broadband tariff ratios for major countries.
• Primary aim to grow the broadband subscriber base.

6. Quality of Service (QoS)-

  •  Clearly defined and documented specifications for broadband services by ISPs
  •  Identify the performance standards and QoS parameters benchmarked against the best international standards
  •  Evolve suitable compliance mechanism
  •  Improve transparency in providing information by ISPs to consumers and TRAI
  •  A separate Code of Practice for Sales and Marketing.
  •  Clearly defined penalties PAYABLE to CONSUMERS for each deficiency in service.
  •  Provision for independent testing agency for dispute resolution specially w.r.t. download/ upload speed etc.
  •  Broadband connection is very critical even for an individual consumer’s day to day functioning. Hence dispute resolution time lines be shortened to 1 to 2 days at the most at each stage.
  •  Legislative measures to bring disputes between telecom consumers and service providers within the jurisdiction of Consumer Forums/ Consumer Protection Act.

7. To Stimulate demand for broadband-

  •  High speed and high quality broadband access to all village panchayats through optical fibre by the year 2014 and progressively to all villages and habitations.
  •  Promotion of content creation particularly in vernacular languages
  •  Utilise UNIVERSAL SERVICE OBLIGATION FUND (USOF) in improving last mile connectivity
  •  Enabling provisions in the current regulatory framework so that existing infrastructure including cable TV networks are optimally utilised for extending high quality broadband services in rural areas also.
  •  Fully support the sector regulator in their efforts to enhance consumer awareness about services, tariffs, and QoS.
  •  Dissociate carrier and service providers (both need not be same) to utilize physical assets of BSNL/MTNL
  • Promote wireless for faster dispersal of broadband but regulate QOS and tariffs

1. Regulatory framework-

  •  Regulations defining Network Service Operator (NSO)/ Communication Network Service Operator (CNSO) and Service Delivery Operator (SDO)/ Communication Service Delivery Operator (CSDO) and licensing for the same
  •  A comprehensive review of Indian Telegraph Act and its rules and other allied legislations with a view to making them consistent with and in furtherance of the broadband.
  •  Legislative measures to bring disputes between telecom consumers and service providers within the jurisdiction of Consumer Forums/ Consumer Protection Act.

Hemant Upadhyay


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