Telecom regulator Trai Wednesday directed operators to inform customers about the data usage limits of their broadband plans and the extent to which speed of connection will be reduced in case users breach the ‘fair usage’ or data quota cap. Currently, under the ‘fair usage policy’ if a consumer subscribes to an unlimited broadband plan with, say, over 2Mbps speed and his usage breaches a certain quota say 2GB before the billing cycle is over, the provider can reduce the data speed for the remaining period.
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The move is aimed at improving transparency and helping customers keep a track of their consumption levels as companies will also have to notify users when their data usage hits 50, 90 and 100 per cent of the prescribed limit under their chosen plan.
Trai also said that in case of fixed broadband services, operators will have to ensure that download speed for a user does not fall below 512 kbps (as stipulated under Telecom Department norms) under any Fair Usage Plan, even after the assigned data quota expires.
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As per today’s directive, broadband operators will have to provide alerts to subscribers through SMS on their registered mobile number/email each time their data usage reaches 50, 90 and 100 per cent of the said limit under their plan.
Telecom service providers should also maintain a portal/website, so that users can check their usage at any point of time, it said.
Trai directive said for fixed broadband service users, companies under ‘fair usage policy’ will have to specify data usage limit and the promised speeds, as well as speed of the connection after excess usage.
Similarly, for mobile broadband service, operators will have to specify the technology used for providing the data services alongwith the usage quota, and the speeds offered after the such data limits are breached.
This information has to be provided on the telecom operators’ website as well as in advertisements, Trai said.
Trai directive said that the move was aimed at ensuring transparency in delivery of internet and broadband services.
“…(this will) protect interest of consumers of the telecom sector, and facilitate further growth of internet and broadband services in India,” it said.