British telecom regulator Ofcom is set to revolutionize the broadband market by prompting operators to share more accurate and reliable information on the broadband speeds with their business clients.
The new telecom policy will be effective from September 2016.
UK’s main Business Broadband providers — BT Business, Daisy Communications, KCOM, TalkTalk Business, Virgin Media, XLN and Zen — have signed up to the Code shared by Ofcom. These broadband operators provide a service to around two thirds of SMEs who have standard broadband.
The Ofcom Code will prompt broadband operators to give accurate and transparent information on broadband speeds – before they sign up to a contract.
Scope of the Code
# Under the Code, businesses taking a new broadband service will enjoy a similar level of protection as residential broadband users
# The new Code for businesses applies to all businesses, and to all standard business broadband services across all technologies (ADSL, Cable, Fibre to the Cabinet, Fibre to the Premises, Wireless and Satellite).4 It has also been tailored to meet the specific needs of businesses
# Telecoms need to share both download and upload speeds
# They will have the right to exit their contract without penalty if speeds fall below the minimum guaranteed level
# give additional relevant speeds information at the point of sale
# provide further detailed speeds information in writing to the customer after the sale.
TRAI and broadband speed
The new telecom policy by Ofcom will be an eye-opener for TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) and its top decision makers and DoT (the Department of Telecommunications).
In the last 12-18 months, several telecoms launched 3G and 4G services across the country. Indian telecoms such as Airtel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone, Reliance Communications, BSNL, Tata Docomo and Aircel do not share accurate information on broadband speed – especially the minimum speed for uploading and downloading.
Indian telecoms do not share specific information on whether their 3G or 4G services are available in a particular part of the town. Lack of adequate information is impacting the broadband customer experience. Interestingly, all telecoms are selling 4G packages in India without promising minimum speed.
India has 120 million broadband users — wired and wireless against 800 million plus mobile subscribers, as per the latest TRAI data.
Ofcom says signatories to the voluntary Code also commit to manage any problems that businesses have with broadband speeds effectively, and allow customers to exit the contract at any point if speeds fall below a minimum guaranteed level.
Ofcom says small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs) were confused about how the actual speed of their broadband service compared to the headline maximum speed used in advertising.
All broadband service providers are not giving personalized speed estimates to businesses during the sales process. 20 percent of UK-based SMEs were not satisfied they were getting the speeds they had paid for.
“Where broadband companies fail to provide the speeds they promise, we’ve made it easier for businesses to walk away from their contracts without penalty. Providers have also agreed to give clear and reliable speeds information upfront so business customers can make more informed decisions,” said Sharon White, chief executive of Ofcom.
It’s time for India government to ensure that Indian broadband users are receiving enough speed to become a part of the Digital India mission of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.