If found guilty by the audit firms, Trai will take stringent action including slapping of heavy fines and, in some cases, suspension of licenses as per its QoS regulations.
Top sources in the industry told eFE that the regulator has taken an in-principle decision to rope in independent, third party agencies to audit the service quality of the ISPs. These agencies could be either firms with experience in technology and quality audit and rating of services etc. However, these moves are in their nascent stage and a clear picture would emerge only after several months.
According to sources, if the audit firms found the services provided by ISPs below average or not satisfactory, the authority will take punitive actions against them.
Trai, according to sources, in a recent survey found that many of the ISPs are providing low quality services to its subscribers and are not sticking to the QoS standards laid down. The survey, according to the source, has pulled up Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd, for not complying with its QoS benchmarks. This was the trigger that forced Trai to consider the appointment of third party auditors to enforce quality standards in services, sources added.
The regulator had earlier set stringent quality benchmarks for ISPs to ensure speedy and uninterrupted connectivity for netizens. However, a number of ISPs had expressed their reservation citing poor infrastructure conditions including telecom and bandwidth availability to comply with the benchmarks.
According to sources, the regulator may also include a host of new benchmarks in its QoS to improve the service quality. These include the use of enough bandwidth by the upstream service providers, they said. Trai is now considering a proposal to include bandwidth standards also in its QoS to ensure faster connectivity, sources added.