This gets interesting.
Having the useless information from the Public Information Officer, I explored ways and means to get the FULL information from TRAI.
It appears that there is a huge lobby to keep the definition of broadband as 256 kbps which can be “offered” at an attractive “price”. Anything over and above that is chargeable at a higher price. The companies incur a fixed price to extend the wire from the exchange to your premises. However, after that, we have no clue as to how a company, for example, Airtel justifies it’s monthly costs to service me as a customer. In the recent price fall, on what basis, the price was reduced? On what basis, the earlier price point was maintained?
The PIO has not specifically mentioned about the fair usage policy. Under no circumstances, does this fair usage policy apply, nor it is mandated, nor it is ‘legal’. I have no clue about whether TRAI is aware of such a thing but in any case, it needs a follow up and TRAI should be forced to stop the unfortunate usage.
In the long term, the license of these firms needs to be made public; how these private companies acquire them, how they charge and what are their revenue sources. Their accounts need to be audited and everything should be in the public domain.
I am only interested in a bare bones 2 Mbps connection and any other value added service maybe charged for. That is a legitimate right to make a profit. However, charging exorbitant rates for something as simple as a plain vanilla broadband access is unfair and the customer needs to be put in the loop.
I am reproducing the mail to the appellate authority in full. The best part is that I don’t have to pay the requisite fees and I am sure that the PIO would be put under the mat. TRAI should exert itself as an authority and not a hand maid of the various lobbies. Lets fight them!
November 23rd 2009
Smt. Sadhana Dikshit,
Pr. Advisor (FA &IFA) & Appellate Authorit,
TRAI, Mahanagar Doorsanchar Bhawan,
Jawaharlal Nehru Marg,
Old Minto Road,
New Delhi-110 002.
Sub: Misleading, incoherent and incomplete reply received from PIO, Mr. P.K. Dutta vide letter No. 1(229)/2009-RTI dated 18th November 2009.
With reference to the above mentioned subject, the reply received from PIO Mr. P.K. Dutta is INCOMPLETE, INCOHERENT,ABSOLUTELY MISLEADING and NOT TO MY SATISFACTION AT ALL.
1) The definition of Broadband mentioned as per the letter is and I quote verbatim, “minimum speed of Broadband has been kept at 256 kpbs (sic) as per definition adopted by International Telecommunications Union(ITU).
After accessing the website of ITU, the picture is entirely different.
It says and I quote verbatim,” Recommendation I.113 of the ITU Standardization Sector defines broadband as a “transmission capacity that is faster than primary rate Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) at 1.5 or 2.0 Megabits per second (Mbits)”.
(Accessed from http://www.itu.int/osg/spu/publications/birthofbroadband/faq.html and accessed on 22nd November 2009).
Hence this information is INCORRECT AND MISLEADING a customer.
2)The question number “4, 5 and 6” in the letter to PIO dated 6th November have NOT been answered. I had specifically asked:
Does fair usage policy violate any of the provisions of TRAI?
If it does, what action can be taken against errant Internet Service Provider?
Has any Internet Service Provider been ever penalised for violating for introducing “fair usage policy?
NO ANSWERS WERE GIVEN SPECIFICALLY TO THESE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS and it amounts to WITHOLDING THE INFORMATION.
Further, If the usage of the term “FAIR USAGE POLICY” is ‘illegal’. What action has TRAI taken to notify the various Internet Service Providers to avoid the usage of term and it’s implementation for ‘reducing the speeds’ to 50%’ of the availed plan. The following definition of Fair Usage Policy is taken from Airtel available as a pdf download from their website (www.airtel.in/applications/xm/Fair_Usage_Policy.pdf)
“Under the policy we have defined fair usage levels for unlimited data transfer plans and
needless to mention, the usage levels set are very generous such that most customers will not
be affected by the Fair Usage Policy. On reaching the fair usage level, the plan speed would be rationalized by up to 50% for the restof the monthly billing cycle.”
IS TRAI AWARE OF SUCH A POLICY? WHAT ACTION HAS TRAI TAKEN TO AVOID THE USAGE OF THIS TERM?
3)Question number 8 in letter dated 6th November 2009 was specific and has NOT been answered to MY SATISFACTION, namely,
Has TRAI suggested reducing the price for various plan combinations?If yes, what is the base price fixed for an unlimited Internet Connection by any Internet Service Provider? If no, is there any provision whereby TRAI can act on behalf of the customer to reduce the prices?
I need to know whether TRAI speaks on behalf of the customers, whether TRAI asks the service providers about the break up of the various tariff plans as to under what head the various tariff plans are designed and on what basis the end customer is charged for availing the services of the various Internet Service Providers.
4)Question number 9 has NOT been answered at all namely, “ How has the tariff on unlimited broadband (1Mbps unlimited) being offered by Bharti Airtel fixed line been calculated?”
Please rush the information to me by speed/registered post at the following address listed below. In case the requisite information is not provided to me by the mandatory period, I have the option to escalate the matter to the second appellate authority namely CIC, New Delhi.