This has been an interesting decade for sure. If we were to keep this in retrospect, I would stared in wide eye wonder had I known that I would someday work on 1Mbps unlimited broadband. This has definitely come after a big fight but for sure, there has been a lot of resistance from entrenched lobbies to change.
The asshole of the year undoubtedly goes to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. For their persistence in making inane rules, for sleeping on with the telecom lobbies, being roughshod by the Department of Telecom and I should question it’s very existence. Given the framework within which it operates, it could have easily questioned the authority of the “minister” in charge for bypassing and challenging it’s authority for everything. The imminent launch of mobile number portability was delayed; for very obvious reasons because the entrenched players have a greater say in the lobby or it must have been a part of the deal to allow new players while the mobile number portability could be delayed based on whims and fancies of established operators. We would never know the real reason but TRAI has been found wanting for lack of action.
As a regulator, it is naive to assume that it has “unprecedented powers”; on the contrary, it has not been able to exercise it’s own powers the way it should act on customers behalf. I remember the time when I had dragged Vodafone to the regulator and made it work. But the compliance reports were never made public. At the same time, it has given me valuable lessons in case I need to drag TRAI to act. The best way is to send them a notice while you complain to your telecom operator. Since most of the operators never respond even to repeated emails, it’s best to file a RTI application and know the status of the compliance reports filed by the operators- the nature of the complaint received from the customer, action taken report on the same and how the case was closed. It is a mandatory requirement but so far TRAI has not made anything public.
The wheels of justice churn slowly in this country. So does the thinking of the populace as well as the elected representatives. The idea is simple. To keep the population under duress, to ignore the idea for reforms and let the status quo remain unchanged. Or else, the Government which seems to “act” cannot really resort to extra judicial or extra constitutional ways and means.
In any case, this is the end of the calendar year 2009 and I do sign off with a heavy heart. The efforts in 2010 would be directed towards a bit of activism given the fact that there are untold academic pressures to “be up to it”