CUTS International on Friday organised a conference in the India International Centre, New Delhi on designing a nutrition label for broadband services in India. Such a label will enable complete information disclosure by the Broadband providers on Quality of Service (QoS), in a standard format to consumers, which may result in safeguarding consumers from misleading advertisements, unfair contractual terms, the practice of non-disclosures and most importantly, help them choose between services.
Addressing the conference, Ram Sevak Sharma, Chairman, TRAI said the quality of broadband services in India remains a huge concern. Broadband Infrastructure growth is as low as 1.5 percent, with no further growth in wired connectivity since last 15-20 years. However, he claimed that wireless connectivity has experienced stupendous growth of almost 90 percent in recent times. “The Indian telecom industry has one billion consumers. However, the transaction value of products and services is low.
If a consumer suffers call drop or poor data connectivity, the consumer may not take the route of consumer courts as the model and processes are too complex and unfeasible to justify the low transaction value. Hence, with consumers having fewer choices and complex grievance redressal mechanisms, the idea of having a broadband label is significant, path-breaking and will help consumers in making an informed choice,” said Sharma.
“Internet service providers must disclose a minimum average speed for consumers. With other parts of the world already implementing such labels, the time is right for India to also consider such a mechanism. The deliberations and recommendations today will help TRAI to prepare an appropriate consultation paper for future stakeholder discussions,” he added. The conference was attended by close to 60 participants from various stakeholder groups like telecom service providers, civil society consumer groups, government officials and the media.