TRAI invites views on quality of service for broadband and internet

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a consultation paper to review the Quality of Service (QOS) performance parameters of basic service (wireline) and cellular mobile telephone service. Comments can be filed in response till 2 February 2009.

The TRAI is seeking views on bandwidth needed for internet service providers (ISPs) for better connectivity and improved quality of service, in order to subsequently develop a framework to strengthen regulations on the quality of broadband service.

In the consultation paper TRAI said that there was an immediate need to identify measures of quality of service that were could be monitored and enforced easily, specially with regard to access speeds to ensure the availability of a bare minimum quantum of bandwidth with service providers to provision for broadband and internet services with a reasonable assured quality to customers.

In the TRAI's view, quality of service is becoming increasingly important on account of increasing broadband customers, and the proliferation of various high-bandwidth applications such as IPTV, online video and peer-to-peer file sharing. TRAI says the progression of the concept of virtual and remote office is also gaining popularity at a time when bandwidth intensive applications are also getting increasingly popular.TRAI said that it was virtually flooded with instances when customers have alleged that the speed of their broadband connections was much lesser than what they had subscribed to.

The number of high-speed Internet connections that an ISP is able to support is relative to depends on bandwidth availability. The regulator is also looking to put in place guidelines that will govern the ratio between the number of customers per unit bandwidth, better known as the contention ratio.

Internationally, the average contention ratio for a home user package is reported to be at 50:1 and that for business package is 20:1.

If the TRAI is successful in mandating the new regulations, the painfully slow internet speed could be a thing of the past. Reports said that ISPs could soon have to provide connections basis only the capacity of traffic they can carry, since presently most ISPs are said to compromise on quality by accommodating a higher number of subscribers, resulting in lower broadband speeds and congested networks.