Impact of Quality of Internet Services on Internet Users
In the era being described as “Digital India”, it is important to increase the internet penetration but it is also important to improve the quality of internet services to be able to realize the goal of “Digital India”. Having taken the first step of getting connected, quality of services cannot be ignored and is the necessary second step that needs to be taken.
VOICE initiated a study on ‘Assessment of Impact of Quality of Internet Services on Internet Users’, in September 2016, supported by Ford Foundation, which was based on a sample of 52,000 across 19 states of India. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of quality of internet services delivered to its consumers. It found several shortcomings/impediments which require attention for further enhancing quality of internet.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Assessment Of Impact of Quality of Internet Service is a national study under taken by Consumer VOICE to assess the:
- Current status of Quality of Internet Service in India
- Patterns of current usage of Internet
- Interpret the effect of Quality on Usage of Internet
- Impact of Internet usage on various aspects of life
FINDINGS OF THE STUDY
‘NeedQoIS’ is an initiative taken by VOICE in the interest of internet users (consumers) to educate and enlighten them about Quality of Internet Service (QoIS) and engaging consumers in the fight for better internet service nationwide to make it a truly Digital India. (For more details, please visit https://www.facebook.com/NeedQoIS/)
The study, besides seeking perceptions on various parameters of quality of internet, sought perceptions on the impact of internet on various aspects of life, which include daily lives, development of rural areas, education and research, business and jobs, health and medical services, political and civic participation, shopping, travelling and commuting, women empowerment and empowerment of people with special needs, and e-governance. It was found that each of these aspects is significantly impacted by internet.
The measurement of wireless internet speeds in this study was also undertaken. The average 3G speeds were only 1.5 mbps while average 4G speeds were only 4.10 mbps. These are among the lowest in the world. By definition, 4G speeds are 40 to 150 mbps and Indian telecom companies, claiming use of 4G technology are delivering 3G speeds to their customers.
Based on the study, following recommendations were made to TRAI –
- For better quality of speed a Mandatory disclosure of min avg download speed be made, which must be met at least 95% of the times.
- ISPs to include a speed measurement tool in their apps and maintain a record of average speed during the day, week and month.
- ISPs to disclose minimum and maximum speeds on daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. Compensate consumers for failing to adhere to average download speeds and down time. TRAI should create a mechanism for compensation for quantifiable losses below the benchmark.
- Declare minimum speeds at the time of sale of plans.
- TRAI’s MySpeed App should be made more robust and user-friendly. It should be able to provide speed comparisons for each BTS and also show comparisons of ISPs at given BTS.
- Each ISP app must have a complaint feature with follow up of outcome of complaints.
- TRAI should find a way so that consumer using internet can come to know the reduction in speed or loss of signal at a particular point of time. At present the phones show E or 3G or 4G signal when there is in fact no signal. When signal is lost there should be a way to inform the consumer about loss of speed or signal by an adequate label mechanism.
- TRAI should be able to provide speed comparisons for each BTS and also show comparisons of ISPs at given BTS.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
WORKSHOP HELD IN BANGALORE:
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Consumer VOICE celebrated World Consumer Rights Day (#BetterDigitalWorld) at Bangalore by organizing a workshop in collaboration with the The Chair on Consumer Law and Practice, National Law School of India University. Prof. (Dr.) R. Venkata Rao, Vice Chancellor, NLSIU was the Chief Guest. Prof Sriram Khanna, Consumer VOICE and Prof.(Dr.) Ashok R. Patil, NLSIU were the expert speakers who discussed and explained the findings of this national study. Read More
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