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Penalize telcos ‘on basis of how bad’ they perform: TRAI

TRAI has proposed (pdf) fining telecom operators based on the degree of non-compliance to Quality of Service (QoS) standards, or “on the basis of how bad” a telecom operator performed rather than just fining them for an instance of non-compliance. Currently telcos are fined Rs 1 lakh for the first instance of non-compliance, and for consecutive or repeated instances, telcos are fined Rs 1.5 lakh for the second instance, and Rs 2 lakh for the third instance.  This penalizing structure however does not take into account the severity or “on the basis of how bad” the performance is: “The financial disincentive is same whether the benchmark is not met by 1% or 5%. One option towards streamlining the Quality of service parameters will be to explore the possibility of a scheme of graded financial disincentive so that in the case of very poor performance the financial disincentive could be very stringent,” TRAI suggested in the paper. TRAI says telcos have repeatedly broken benchmarks: The regulator reviews a telecom operator’s performance based on compliance reports submitted by the telco, and it found that in many cases, “the amount of financial disincentives (fine) had not acted as a sufficient deterrent against non-compliance”. Telcos were found to have repeatedly breaking compliance norms or not meeting service quality benchmarks, and this according to the TRAI “indicates lack of commitment or initiative on the part of TSPs to improve the quality of service”. The questions posed in the consultation paper are at the end of…

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