With increasing number of consumers complaining about the lack of broadband speeds despite operators promising the same, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has himself stepped in to address the issue.
The term broadband refers to high-speed Internet access that is generally faster than the traditional dial-up access. However, the delivery of broadband speeds in India is abysmally slow, and in most cases even half of what is promised by operators.
Operators, however, maintain that they provide more than Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai’s) prescribed quality parametres. “Operators offer whatever they prescribe, it is market dynamic that anyone not offering it will fall aside in this business,” said Rajan Mathews, director-general, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) — a body representing all operators except Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices.
Slow broadband speeds also pose a potential threat to the government’s Digital India mission — providing high-speed internet to every household and individual with a mobile device.
Modi took stock of the situation during a recent meeting with secretaries of various ministries, a source in the communications ministry said.
Modi has asked telecom secretary Rakesh Garg the reason behind the inability of operators to provide advertised internet speeds, and is scheduled to meet him on Tuesday to discuss the matter and progress on his Digital India push, the source added.
Garg is likely to ask for four weeks time to do the analysis and submit the finding to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
“A report based on a study to examine the reasons for slow broadband speeds had been prepared and submitted for approval. But after the meeting in the PMO, a further analysis is being undertaken to find out if the lack of spectrum was hampering speeds,” the source said.
Operators promise to offer speeds of 2mbps that allow customers to download a movie in as little as 20 minutes but actual services often run at less than 512kbps, the minimum for a connection to qualify as broadband as defined by Trai.
India has one of the largest internet user bases globally with 254 million users but only 75.73 million have broadband services.