Subtel sets new service quality standards for internet access

23 Jul 2020

Chile’s Comptroller General has taken note of legislation regulating guaranteed minimum internet access speeds, with implementation set to begin later this week, following the publication of the regulations in the Official Gazette. The long-running initiative under the Department of Telecommunications (Subsecretaria de Telecomunicaciones, Subtel) comprises a series of regulations governing commercial offers and the provision of broadband services and aims to ensure that the users receive the download speeds featured in their contracts.

The regulations include the establishment of an Independent Technical Organisation (Organismo Tecnico Independiente, OTI) that will be responsible for conducting periodic measurements to ensure that providers are delivering promised access speeds. The data collected by the OTI will also form the basis of a regular publication of statistics and service quality rankings, with the aim of providing users with more information when selecting a service plan. Customers will also have access to an application that will allow them to measure their connection speed and inform the regulator if the measurements falls short of the rates featured in their contract.

Meanwhile, Subtel has established a series of quality requirements that must be met by all fixed and mobile internet service providers. Firstly, the regulator has established the definition of ‘broadband’ services to be 5Mbps for mobile connections and 25Mbps for fixed connections. Operators are permitted to provide lower transfer rates but must not advertise such offerings as ‘broadband’. This definition will take effect during the first year of the OTI’s operation, whilst from the second year the definition will be based on national average access speeds as measured by the new body. Secondly, Subtel set standard ranges within which ISPs must guarantee connection speeds. During peak hours, providers must guarantee 95% of the contracted speed for fixed connections and 90% for wireless connections, and for off-peak hours the rates were set at 98% (fixed) and 93% (wireless). For example, a customer with a 100Mbps fixed broadband plan must receive download speeds of at least 95Mbps during peak hours and 98Mbps during off-peak hours. Finally, the regulations require that operators that fail to meet the above standards must offer users discounts or an adapted service plan, with such compensation to be proportional to the length of time that the service malfunctioned. Notably, customers’ download speed measurements will be assumed to be correct – unless the provider can demonstrate otherwise – to ensure a greater level of protection for users.