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Fair Usage Policy and India’s fashionable limited unlimited plans

In light of the FCC imposing a $100 million fine on AT&T for misleading customers with its unlimited data plans, which were still bound by the company’s fair usage policy (FUP), lets take a look at how TRAI handles FUP in India. For the uninitiated, Fair Usage Policy or FUP, is a policy adopted by ISPs and TSPs to limits a customer’s upload and/or download speed after the customer reaches a certain data cap. FUP is not necessarily bad per se, but the issues come in when terms are not fully disclosed or products are advertised in misleading ways. In AT&T’s case, the company advertised its product as 1.7 to 6 Mbps unlimited, only to throttle down user speed to 256/512 kbps on reaching the five gigabyte set data limit. Regulation in India: In July 2012, the TRAI had issued a new directive to telecom service providers which provide broadband services, asking them to deliver internet services in a more transparent manner, by providing sufficient information to customers. The directive asked telecom operators to provide customers enough information 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 was after the TRAI had issued a similar directive asking service providers to refrain from misleading tariff advertisements, so…

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