The Malta Communications Authority (MCA) has issued a decision (MCA/D/13-1475) on broadband quality of service (QoS) standards obliging internet service providers (ISPs) to make additional information available to users and the regulator, such as advertising a typical speed range (TSR) for each of its tariffs. Under the new rules, ISPs are required to measure and report to the MCA QoS parameters, including data transmission speed, internet access availability, latency and packets lost. Further, ISPs must display a TSR in any advertising material, at the point of sale and in all subscriber contracts, giving it the same importance as the headline speed. The TSR for existing tariffs is to be calculated on a quarterly basis by analysing the connection speed of a statistical sample of customers, representative of all connections under the same headline speed, over the course of thirty days. The 80th and 20th percentile marks are then used as the TSR for the package. For new tariffs, ISPs must use ‘realistic and prudent estimates’ based on existing network information to give a TSR. If the estimated TSR should differ significantly from the actual figure, the provider must inform its customers.
The decision also covers the inclusion of additional data in subscriber contracts, such as maximum time for initial connection and disconnection, repair time for faults and minimum access speeds for internet services.