The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued the ‘Quality of Service of Broadband service (amendment) Regulations, 2012, yesterday, which come into effect from January 1, 2013.

As per the new directive issued by the TRAI, an Internet Service Provider (ISP) found providing broadband services that fail to achieve the benchmark of Quality of Service (QoS), will be fined up to 50,000 rupees for every parameter found below par. For subsequent contraventions of the QoS, the amount goes up to a lakh. The TRAI directed the ISPs to submit a Performance Monitoring Report, failing which they would be fined a sum of up to Rs 5,000 for every day that the default continues. In the event of an ISP submitting a false Performance Monitoring Report, it would be liable to pay a fine of Rs 10 lakh for every parameter found falsified. The TRAI added that the ISP would be given “a reasonable opportunity of representing against the contravention of the regulation observed by the Authority,” before it directs the ISP to pay the penalty. 

Keeping the Internet free of hateful content (Image credit: Getty Images

TRAI to fine ISPs for poor services! (Image Credit: Getty Images)

Access service providers (ASPs) were recently permitted to offer combo vouchers, following a directive by the TRAI called ‘The Telecom Consumer Protection (Fourth Amendment) Regulations, 2012’. Earlier, ASPs were allowed to offer three categories of vouchers, namely plan vouchers, top-ups and STVs. Of late, however, several service providers and the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) have been demanding that a fourth category of vouchers be included, i.e., combo vouchers. These combo vouchers would make up an additional category of vouchers under the TCPR, offering both monetary value and tariff concessions through a single voucher.

In the same vein, the TRAI elaborated in its official notice that combo vouchers will sport a blue colour band, while top-up vouchers will sport a green colour one, making them easily distinguishable. 

In its official notice, the TRAI shared that such vouchers offered more flexibility to the service providers to “offer innovative bundling of the products based on market segmentation”. The TRAI believes that users will have the convenience to purchasing additional monetary value as well as well as get the benefit of special tariffs through a single transaction.

The TRAI has ensured that top-up vouchers are “clearly distinguishable to subscribers”. Top-up vouchers will be exclusively available in denomination of Rs 10 and its multiples. The combo vouchers will be available only in denominations other than Rs 10 and its multiples. 

Further, to enable consumers to be fully aware of the offer they are subscribing to, the combo vouchers will clearly state its terms and conditions. Service providers too have been directed to specify the availability of standalone top-up vouchers whenever combo vouchers are spoken about at length.

In related news, the TRAI has been working towards the elimination of pesky SMSes since a while now, and this move is another step in that direction. In an open house discussion on the topic of unsolicited commercial communications (UCC) involving mobile operators, telemarketers, and consumer groups, TRAI Chairman, Rahul Khullar stated, “All of you have 15 days time (October 25)…You have to come back to me with any suggestions”. Khullar has further stated that if the mobile operators do not respond within 15 days with their suggestions, then the TRAI would have to decide on the matter. “I have a practical problem on my hand and I want practical solution,” he said. 

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