The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a new directive to telecom service providers which provide broadband services, asking them to deliver internet services in a more transparent manner, providing sufficient information to customers.

According to the directive, telecom service providers should provide enough information to customers about various existing plans and the applicable Fair usage policy (FUP). It had also directed service providers to ensure that the connection speed doesn’t go below the minimum specified speed, and that providers alert subscribers whenever their data usage reaches 80% and 100% of the data usage limit, in their respective plans.

This is a welcome move by the TRAI, and we are glad that the regulator is finally taking some action in this direction, since a majority of the Indian ISPs often lure consumer with attractive tariffs and high broadband speeds with a fine print, without conveying fair usage limits to subscribers in a transparent manner.

Earlier in the year, the TRAI had issued a similar directive asking service providers to refrain from misleading tariff advertisements, so that subscribers could choose services and tariff plans, without being lured by attractive options that come with a fine print. The regulator had asked service providers to disclose all material information clearly in their ads as well as publish a URL to their website and customer care numbers. The TRAI had said that this directive applied to all tariff advertisements, issued through any medium including printed media, pamphlets, radio, television, internet, e-mails and any other audio-visual electronic media.

The regulator had also directed ISPs to refrain from using the term ‘Unlimited’, unless the provider offers true unlimited service without any data cap or speed throttling, since putting a fair usage or daily/monthly limit on an unlimited plan would amount to misleading the consumers. However, most private sector Indian ISPs still promote ‘unlimited’ plans with usage caps or speed throttling once the user crosses a pre-defined ‘fair use’ limit set by the ISP.