…is not strictly limited to India.
Yes, you heard me. India is not the only country with FUPs – check some ISPs abroad. I dare you.
While I support the move to increase the lower-limit to 2mbit/s, the reason for the ISP’s opposition to this is obvious: the financial implications are huge. BUT SPEED DOESN’T COST: Gigabytes do.
All differ depending on the technology in question, but generally speaking I can deliver you 1 gigabyte at 1, 20, 50 or 100 megabits and with a small variation in the actual cost of the equipment (ADSL, VDSL, Fiber), it costs me basically the same. Consider now the various plans available from Airtel, BSNL, Tata, Reliance and others with roughly the same size data-cap: with a price difference based strictly on speed. Doesn’t that piss you off?
(Case in point: Airtel’s 30 and 50mbit/s plans. Both 200GB data caps. Delivered at 30mbit/s or 50mbit/s. Price: Rs1,000 different). #FAIL
So while the slow speeds and tiny data-caps and FUPs may seem like profiteering now, at the current pricing levels (under Rs2000), mandating an increase to a minimum of 2mbit/s (which I personally am hoping for) to call the product “Broadband” would seriously damage profitability of ISPs whose costs can be up to Rs20/GB – or more (depending on their negotiating skills!)
That is, unless some things change.
First: wholesale prices need to come down - 1Cr per year for 155mbit/s is outrageous (even 50 lakhs is still outrageous). On USA-UK, Singapore-USA, Japan-USA, you can get 10Gbit/s for about US$10k/month.
Considering that of all the capacity to India (total is about 20-23 terabits right now) the total usage is still only being measured in gigabits, it’s clearly not a capacity problem, it’s a price problem.
Secondly, NIXI’s tariff structure to be changed to a flat-rate – nowhere else in the world charges per GB at the peering-exchange! In fact, I’d be happy to pay Rs3,00,000 per MONTH for 1gbit/s if the per-GB charges were eliminated.
Thirdly, Local Loop Unbundling – I would suggest (both as an foreigner and as someone starting an ISP) that this be done as soon as possible. Yesterday is better. In fact, it should have been done in 2004 when it was suggested originally – perhaps India would not be in the situation it is now.
But if it is done, then we can eliminate dependence on cablewalas, as they aren’t helping India’s Broadband situation, and BSNL/MTNL can start to get another revenue stream from ISPs who want to lease the copper.
Of course, I outlined all of this in the document to which Sushubh & I contributed but the author of this article (Caught in the Net of slow broadband) sort of failed to mention… well… almost all of it.
So as a consumer, I disagree with FUPs in general. As an ISP/business owner, I see the point of them and that they are a necessary evil.
So what’s my comprimise?
We don’t need to eliminate FUPs completely, just for the FUPs to be fair to the consumer.
This post was originally posted as a comment to the online version of the ToI article mentioned above, but at the time of writing had not been moderated/accepted. It has been modified from it’s original form for some clarification and comic effect.