Sector watchdog the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a direction instructing all ISPs to ensure that the download speed of broadband services is not reduced below 512kbps, including once a customer has exceeded their data allowance. The move looks to enforce a notification from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in July 2013, which amended the definition of broadband to a ‘minimum download speed of 512kbps to an individual subscriber from the PoP of the service provider.’
The direction also added a raft of additional consumer protection measures, including requiring operators to provide clearer information on their tariffs in their adverts and to provide the data to new and existing customers. Under the new rules, fixed broadband providers must specify: the data usage limits with specified speed; speed of broadband connection up to the data usage limit; and the speed of the connection once that limit is reached. Similarly, mobile providers must provide the data usage limit via the specified ‘primary technology’ (i.e. 3G or 4G) and the download speed for data services once the data cap has been exceeded.
Providers must also inform customers via SMS or email when they reach 50%, 90% and 100% of their data usage limit. Finally, operators should also maintain a website or portal that enables customers to check their data usage at any time.