TRAI's recent attempt at addressing subscribers' compaints of slow broadband speeds has ended with no tangible change for users. TRAI's customer surveys revealed that disappointed Internet users were seeking commitment for actual throughput speed or average throughput speed for a site and were compaining, not surprisingly, that ISPs have not provided them the promised bandwidth. Take for example this graph by LIRNEasia and the TeNet Group, which captures the real speeds when BSNL and Airtel users accessed international websites such as Yahoo. The actual speed of Internet connections as percentages of the speed advertised for BSNL 256k/256k package at business peak (around 11.00 am) and the AirTel 256k/256k package at both business and residential (after 8.00 pm) peaks show sharp deteriorations in quality. It is available here. In January, TRAI issued a consultation paper “Bandwidth required for ISPs for better connectivity and improved quality of service”, inviting comments from stakeholders. Responses from various players have left the regulatory body meekly accepting that monitoring of these parameters is complex. It has called for transparent subscriber communication, education and awareness in its press release. It also concluded in its guidelines that one more factor - contention ratio - has to be communicated to subscribers. Internet Access & Contention Ratio The contention ratio is the number of users competing for the same bandwidth. It can be generally seen that when contention ratio is more than 50:1, bandwidth congestion is more than 84%. TRAI has noted that internationally, the average contention ratio for a home…
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