The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
("TRAI") has recently issued Guidelines
to all service providers namely Internet Service Providers
("ISPs"), Unified Access Service
Providers, Cellular Mobile Service Providers, Basic Service
Providers providing Internet/ broadband for ensuring better quality
of service ("2009 Guidelines").
Earlier the Government of India had issued a Broadband Policy in
October 2004 for fixation of quality of services standard for
Broadband Services in India. Subsequently TRAI brought out the
"Quality of Service of Broadband Services Regulations
2006" that came into effect from January 1, 2007
The 2006 Regulations prescribed specific benchmarks for several
parameters such as packet loss, latency in the network, bandwidth
utilization and connection speed. It also covered parameters for
speed of connection and bandwidth utilization. The 2006 Regulations
also required the service providers to monitor their network and
take actions to maintain the quality of service as set out by the
TRAI. It however did not stipulate anything on contention ratio
(i.e., the number of users competing for the same internet
After receiving many complaints from subscribers regarding lower
broadband speed than the subscribed speed, TRAI had suo
moto issued a consultation paper on "Bandwidth required
for ISPs for better connectivity and improved quality of
service". TRAI, after considering responses from various
sectors of the society on said consultation paper, decided to
specify contention ratio for all service providers providing
internet or broadband facility.
The Internet Service Providers Association of India
("ISPAI") said that the new standard of
contention ratio will increase the cost of services. ISPAI has
urged TRAI to delay the enforcement of new standard of contention
ratio by 2-3 years.
The salient features of the guidelines are:
To provide adequate information to subscribers regarding
Internet/broadband services being offered and marketed as a good
To provide information regarding contention ratios adopted for
different services by service providers in their tariff plans
submitted to TRAI, manual of practice, call centers and on their
To publish contention ratio for different Internet/broadband
services on their website periodically to facilitate subscribers to
To ensure availability of minimum required bandwidth in their
network according to maximum contention ratio suggested by TRAI for
different services based on number of subscribers.
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