Consumer VOICE

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Digital India – Do we have the Right Internet Speed?

Better living in the 21 st century is directly related to a better digital world. But is India really making progress in being Digital India? Do we have the sufficient bandwidth and speed to match up with the world? Well on paper yes, as most of us have 3G or 4G on our phones? But does it give the quality of service that it promises?

In a recently concluded study by VOICE it has found that the actual performance of 3G and 4G services is worse than what telecom operators promise.

Digitisation in India

Digitisation has increased our usage of the internet and brought everything literally on our fingertips. From online shopping to online classes, from online ordering of food, to online payment of essential services – internet has become a part of our daily lives.

But have you been struggling to open that payment app on your mobile phone or are you taking a long time to log in to your account? To make everything function smoothly, one needs a high quality internet connection. But are we really getting what we are paying for?

Impact of Quality of Internet Services on Internet Users

In a recently concluded study, ‘Impact of Quality of Internet Services on Internet Users’ Consumer VOICE assessed the impact of Quality of Internet Service on various aspects of life spanning across both rural and urban India. The study which was based on a sample size of 52,000 internet users across 18 states showed that the 9 out of 10 respondents affirmed that the quality of internet has a significant impact on the daily lives of the people.

  • The impact of Quality of Internet Service was assessed on 9 aspects of life which included:
  •  Daily Lives
  •  Development of Rural Areas
  •  Education and Research
  •  Health and Medical Services
  •  Political and Civic Participation
  •  People with special needs
  •  Business and Jobs
  •  Shopping
  •  Travelling and Commuting

Availability, Speed and Help Services were found to be significant parameters impacting overall QoIS. Reliance Jio was rated on top on all three parameters. Airtel and Rel Comm were the only other two to be rated above average on these parameters.

Our daily lives are intertwined with the quality of internet that we get from our service providers. From purchasing of rail tickets to booking hotels online, from paying online phone bills to paying insurance premium – poor internet speed and quality affects our daily lives.

TRAI defines 3G speeds as – from 1.8 to 40 mbps and 4G as- up to ‘100-150mbps’. However, in the study, average speeds found for 3G were 2.10 mbps and 4G were 3.16 mbps. Maximum was 12.70 mbps for 4G and 9.98 mbps for 3G.

It is not just the provision of service that will help the country become ‘Digital India’ but also the quality of internet service that determines the sustainability of this vision. Speed being an important parameter of QoIS, “Audit of wireless internet speed” was conducted in eight states across the four telecom circles. It was found that users get much lower speed than what is claimed. It also shows a wide gap between 3G and 4G speed claims of ISPs and their actual performance. The poor level of internet speeds requires the government and the telecom regulator to devise mechanisms to improve internet speeds in one way or another.

Need of the hour…for a Digital India

 

For better quality of speed a Mandatory disclosure of min avg download speed – 95% of the time.

ISPs to include a speed measurement tool in their apps and maintain a record of average speed during the day, week and month.

ISPs to disclose minimum and maximum speeds on daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. Compensate consumers for failing to adhere to average download speeds and down time. TRAI should create a mechanism for compensation for quantifiable losses below the benchmark.

TRAI’s MySpeed App should be made more robust and user- friendly. It should be able to provide speed comparisons for each BTS and also show comparisons of ISPs at given BTS.

Each ISP app must have a complaint feature with follow up of outcome of complaints.

World Consumers Rights Day 2018

So to have a new, better Digital India, better, faster and accurate internet quality is needed. With 15th March being the World Consumer Rights Day, the time is just ripe to raise awareness on the most important issue – the issue internet speed and accuracy that is affecting millions of Indians in everyday life. World Consumer Rights Day is the best way to make the biggest impact possible and sensitise the consumers. Click for updates on WCRD 2018

Divya Patwal

VOICE