There is some bad news for fixed line Internet users in India. Telecom Authority of India (TRAI), which is the nodal agency for everything related with telecom has taken India into the dark ages in terms of Internet access.
As per TRAI’s latest directives, even a crawling and depressing speed of 512 kbps would be considered as ‘Broadband Internet’ in India.
In their latest notification which was derived after much consultation and meetings, TRAI says, “Broadband is a data connection that is able to support interactive services including Internet access and has the capability of the minimum download speed of 512kbps to an individual subscriber..”
Compared to us, South Korea, a tiny country has ensured that the average Internet speed for their citizens is 29 mbps; whereas in Norway, it’s 21.3 mbps and Czech Republic, its 17.8 mbps.
In India, the average Internet speed is around 2.5 mbps, which is even lower than countries like Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. In fact, India has the slowest Internet speed in entire Asia Pacific region.
With 512 kbps as minimum guaranteed speed of fixed line broadband from now on, the law of averages will actually work against us, and drag in further down in the global Internet speed race.
Now, the question arises, why TRAI make this anti-Digital India move which will crush the revolution of fast Internet access in India?
Telecom Operators Victory Is India’s Loss
Last year, TRAI had floated a consultation paper regarding finalizing minimum broadband speed in India. 512 kbps has been recommended which is now final.
However, to our horror, we discovered in February this year that telecom operators are vehemently opposing 512 kbps minimum speed for broadband Internet.
Airtel, Reliance Communication and Sistema Communication had written to TRAI that in case 512 kbps minimum speed was forced upon them, then their companies would suffer heavy losses and customers will take ‘advantage of them’.
Cellular Operators Association of India and Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India, which are powerful lobbies of telecom service providers, had strongly campaigned to convince TRAI that 512 kbps would be too much for Indians, and telcos should be allowed to throttle speed below that.
Fortunately, TRAI didn’t change 512 kbps minimum speed, but neither did they increased it to 1 mbps, which was what actually needed for a fast growing country like India. Telecom operator’s pressure tactics certainly worked here, as they ensured that minimum speed doesn’t go beyond 512 kbps.
Having said that, TRAI’s latest directive will certainly help users of those ISPs which reduce post-FUP speed to even below 300 kbps (ACT throttles speed to 256 kbps post FUP and YOU broadband reduces it to 300 kbps).
However, the standard which TRAI has set for fixed line internet in India is still very low – Lower than developing countries, and lower than what our neighbours in Asia are getting.
Are you satisfied with TRAI’s definition of broadband in India? Do let us know by commenting right here!