Telcos to face fine of up to Rs10 lakh for broadband quality fraud

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has prescribed penalty of up to Rs10 lakh on telecom companies failing to report on quality of broadband services.

The penalty will serve as a financial disincentive to service providers failing to meet the prescribed quality of service (QoS) benchmarks for broadband services, TRAI said in a release on Monday.

"If the compliance report furnished by a service provider providing broadband service...Is false...It shall, without prejudice to the terms and conditions of its licence...Be liable to pay an amount, by way of financial disincentive, not exceeding rupees ten lakh per parameter," TRAI said in Quality of Service of Broadband Service (Amendment) Regulations, 2012.

The new regulations, which will come into effect from 1 January 2013, also states that if a service provider offering broadband service fails to meet the benchmark of quality of service, then it will be liable to pay penalty up to Rs50,000 per parameter.

"The regulations prescribe financial disincentive on broadband service providers for noncompliance with the benchmark at a rate not exceeding Rs50,000 per parameter for the first noncompliance and Rs1,00,000 per parameter for subsequent non-compliance of the benchmarks,'' TRAI said.

The regulations also provide for deterrent as financial disincentives against false reporting and delay in submission of report of the Quality of Service benchmarks, TRAI said.

Further, in case of second or subsequent such contravention, a penalty up to Rs1 lakh per parameter should be levied on service provider for each contravention.

The parameters for quality of service include activation time of broadband connection, fault repair or service restoration time, billing issues, response time to the customer for assistance and connection speed, among others.