The TRCSL is to explore the possibility of extending its broadband QoS of fixed broadband services to remote locations to check whether the subscribers are receiving the same level of service as observed by the TRCSL at its monitoring unit.
The subscribers who are using fixed broadband to access the Internet have recently complained to the TRCSL about discriminatory action carried out by some providers in their operations. Majority have complained about extremely low Internet speeds that they have experienced in unlimited broadband services. The subscribers who were affected by the speeds have informed the TRCSL that they have gathered an extensive amount of evidence to prove that the operator is performing this discriminatory action to discourage their Internet usage intentionally.
It is clear that no operator can perform traffic throttling on broadband with the intention of discouraging customer’s Internet usage. However in some broadband packages the operator will be permitted to apply speed controlling (Fair Usage Policy) on users. The operator who wishes to do so must obtained the prior approval from the TRCSL, at the point of approving the tariff for the respective package. Subsequently the subscriber must also be informed by the operator, at the point of sale about this parameter where the speed controlling comes in to effect.
While facilitating broadband operators to function smoothly in the market with minimum regulatory pressure, it is the duty of the regulator to ensure that the subscribers are receiving value for money for services the operators provide. Since broadband is going to be a dominant tool in the country in the process of socio-economic development soon, the TRCSL must make sure that the overall quality of broadband services are in a satisfactory level to meet the demand of customers.
History shows that the speed levels of fixed broadband services did not receive much attention of the regulator. With the establishment of broadband monitoring unit (BMU) in 2010 and as a result of strategic efforts of the TRCSL, the operators have improved the speed levels of fixed broadband services. To maintain proper level of service the operators have allocated more network resources locally and internationally. At this point some fixed operators have discontinued issuing of unlimited broadband services since they may not in a position to provide unlimited data for consumption while providing an acceptable QoS to the international domains. Actually QoS and the data capacity would be the key network parameters which differentiate the domestic broadband from the Internet Leased Lines (ILL).
Highly priced Internet Leased Lines and limited number of options in the market have led customers to use ADSL broadband services for corporate and commercial activities. Having identified this situation the TRCSL has instructed the operators to introduce more packages to the market to suit the needs of customers who are using broadband for commercial activities. The TRCSL’s attention has also been focused on the expensive rates of the ILL services being provided in the corporate sector.
While providing the necessary assistance to operators to gain control over network resources, the TRCSL will make sure that the subscribers are will get adequate data capacities in their existing unlimited broadband services.
Unapproved traffic controlling on broadband services will not be allowed. If it is an approved package with FUP, the operator should communicate the FUP threshold clearly to the customer. If necessary the TRCSL is ready to introduce new policies for broadband services which come under the tag “unlimited” for the benefit of subscribers.
The speed testing facility available in the TRCSL’s website has now become a primary source which offers valuable information to the regulator about speed levels of operators. When a subscriber conducts a test the information including speed, IP address and the ISP’s name will automatically send to a database. The TRCSL can retrieve this information to identify the operator and the level of service that they are offering to subscribers.
Routine benchmarking process of the TRCSL will also be used to identify whether the operators are applying traffic throttling on broadband services to limit the use of Internet without the knowledge of subscribers. In addition to make this information available to the public, the necessary regulatory action will also be taken against the operators who cause inconvenience to broadband subscribers.