The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India today released recommendations to regulate fixed line broadband operators giving test subscriptions before rolling their services out completely. This was probably an outcome of Jio’s nationwide testing of its JioFiber broadband service, which launched commercially last September in many places. In its response to the draft recommendations that TRAI has now made final, Jio said that the requirements for broadband testing are different so regulation should be light. The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which has often represented the interests of Vodafone–Idea and Airtel more than Jio’s, argued that only employees of an ISP and their business partners should test the network (Jio did its testing phase with regular customers).

These recommendations would effectively prevent ISPs from using testing as a promotional free trial to sign up subscribers.

Here are the recommendations that TRAI made:

  • Providers should be allowed to test their network with test users, and there should be no restriction on the time the test runs for if these test users are employees of the provider or its business partners.
  • The number of test users should be limited to 5% of the capacity of the local service area.
  • There should be a 90 day limit for testing with these users. The provider should not get more than 180 days to do the testing in total.
  • Providers should comply with their licence’s security and privacy terms.
  • TSP should disclose to users that they won’t be charged during the testing phase, and that they will not be charged for any Customer Premises Equipment (CPE); and should be told when the likely launch date is. (Jio collected security deposits from test users and only revealed their commercial launch date to the public one month before it happened.)