Govt lifts minimum access speeds to 70% of contracted rate

4 Jun 2021

The Peruvian government has published Law 31207, increasing the guaranteed minimum connection speed operators are required to provide to 70% of the contracted rate (up from 40% previously). The law calls for the establishment of a new regulatory agency, the National Registry of Monitoring and Surveillance of Internet Services (Registro Nacional de Monitoreo y Vigilancia del Servicio de Internet, RENAMV), which will be responsible for measuring internet access speeds. In addition, tools are to be made available to users to enable them to accurately measure the speed of their connection. Regarding the change to internet access speed requirements, the law amends articles in two existing pieces of legislation that concern mandated minimum access speeds, specifically: Article 5 of Law 29904, Law for the Promotion of Broadband and Construction of the National Fibre Optic Backbone; and Article 66 of Law 29571, Consumer Protection and Defence Code. The amendments mandate that ISPs ensure that connection speeds delivered to consumers are at least 70% of those featured in the contracts or detailed in the company’s advertising. The requirement applies to users of all contract types and both urban and rural customers, regardless of the connection type. Sector watchdog the Supervisory Agency for Private Investment in Telecommunications (Organismo Supervisor de Inversion Privada en Telecommuniciones, Osiptel) is required to issue regulations to implement and enforce the new law within 60 days.

The legislation was introduced with the intention of protecting consumers, encouraging investment and strengthening competition, but also partially to address disruption to services that resulted from changing usage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, customers had relied more heavily on mobile than fixed networks for internet access, and the nation’s network infrastructure was configured to support that model of usage. The introduction of measures to combat the pandemic required that users remain at home, however, and drastically altered the patterns for traffic, causing widespread disruption whilst ISPs sought to reconfigure their networks. Lawmakers reportedly hoped to prevent such disruption in the future through the new legislation, with the expectation that operators would either improve capacity to more closely match their advertised rates, or alter their packages to better reflect the capabilities of their networks.

Critics of the plan have noted that the new requirements may do little to address the perceived weaknesses in the system that had caused problems in early 2020 whilst holding back the government’s efforts to narrow the digital divide. Requiring operators to guarantee minimum access speeds at this level, they argue, directs investment away from poorly connected and underserved regions by forcing providers to spend money bolstering capacity in areas where they are already active – particularly in areas of high traffic. Further, the fact that the law does not distinguish been access types, may force operators to overspend on mobile infrastructure to mitigate the impacts from other factors that can affect mobile service quality.

Peru, Osiptel