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The TRCSL as the telecom regulator is on continuous watch to see whether the operators are treating its customers in respectfully when providing broadband services. The National Broadband Consultative Committee NBCC has recently identified certain areas in the broadband sector where it would directly impact on the consumer. For example, the advertisements about certain technologies and services which might cause some confusion among broadband subscribers and the public have been put on the media for the purpose of gaining commercial benefits.

In certain countries there are Governmental and non-Governmental institutions come forward to ensure the rights of the telecom subscribers. The absence of such mechanism in the country has added more weight on the TRCSL in recent times especially due to broadband operators not complying with ethical practices to meet the ongoing competition. As a remedy, TRCSL has issued number of guidelines in the best interest of broadband subscribers. The guidelines were developed by the NBCC.

As per the guidelines, it is mandatory to inform the subscribers in an event of a submarine cable failure or in the event of maintenance work in the submarine cable systems if the event has a direct impact on the experience of the Internet users. According to the NBCC’s observations the broadband operators are not keen to communicate such events to the subscribers in an effective manner.

Apart from failures in the international links, which is beyond the control of the local operator, some operators pay scant respect to their customers and frequently carrying out maintenance work in networks affecting the service without prior notice to their valued customers. Many instances were found in the past where some operators have even changed the network settings without informing the subscribers which are vital for the operations at the subscriber’s end. As a result of thoughtless action on the part of some broadband operators, the subscribers are facing many difficulties.

Mobitel’s action commended by the regulator

The mobile broadband operator, MOBITEL, has released a public notice recently in their broadband web portal to inform the subscribers and the public about an ongoing maintenance work (beyond their control) in the submarine cable system SEA-ME-WE 4 which would possibly impact the experience of the Internet users. The official communication was done to inform this event to the TRCSL and have also indicated the measures taken to minimize the impact on subscribers.

This course of action from MOBITEL is commendable and would be a good example for other telecos in the market.

The TRCSL anticipate other operators to take similar action in the future to inform their subscribers and the public in such events, if there is any possibility of affecting the experience of the Internet users.

Continuous monitoring will be done to check whether the operators are complying with the directions issued by the TRCSL made in the interest of broadband subscribers. For non-compliance issues, regulatory action will be taken in addition to publishing the names of the operators who have failed to inform the subscribers and the public when interruptions occur in the service.