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Trai to redefine 'broadband'
BS Reporter, in New Delhi | January 02, 2008 09:50 IST
For subscribers who wonder why their high-speed "broadband" connection of 256 kilo bites per second is not fast enough to play video games or download movie clips quickly, here is some good news.
Responding to complaints from harassed consumers who are offered "broadband" at speeds much slower than those stipulated by the government, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has taken a tough call.
It has written to operators saying they can no longer advertise broadband services that say they offer "up to" 256 kbps speeds, thereby circumventing the rules by offering services at far lower speeds.
Instead, Trai has directed all operators to clearly mention the minimum guaranteed download speeds in various packages. The regulator said operators have promised to abide by the new direction.
Meanwhile, the regulator has also mooted a discussion paper, which was released today, on whether the present level of 256 kbps defined as the minimum speed for a broadband connection should be raised to bring it on a par with international standards.
The paper said in countries like France and Singapore, broadband is defined as a minimum speed of 512 kbps.
In the US, however, the speed is limited to 200 kbps, in Hungary to 256 kbps, while in China all Internet users other than dial-up and wireless are considered broadband users.
For consumers, a rise in the speed definition for broadband means two things. On the positive side it means many services like high definition movies, tele-medicine and video streaming would all be possible since these services require speeds as high as 4 to 6 mbps.
But on the flip side it will mean that consumers, at least for the time being, have to shell out much more for higher speeds.
A 256 kbps broadband connection is currently available at Rs 250 a month. A connection of 2 mbps would make you poorer by Rs 3,300 a month.
At the moment only 4 per cent of the nine million broadband users in the country use speeds of above 256 kbps.