Need for broadband labeling to empower consumer choice: TRAI

PTI, April 07, 2017

Acknowledging the fact that the broadband quality services in the country remains a matter of concern, telecom regulatory body TRAI’s Chairman RS Sharma today said there is a need of broadband labeling which would empower consumer choices.

Speaking at the event organized by CUTS International on ‘Designing a Nutrition Label for Broadband Services in India, Mr Sharma said, “The Indian telecom industry has 1 billion consumer bases, but 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 less 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. “In his opening remark he also stated that the broadband infrastructure growth is as low as 1.5 per cent with no further growth in wired connectivity since last 15-20 years. However, wireless connectivity has experienced stupendous growth of almost 90 per cent in recent times.

The chairman also urged the internet service providers to 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,” Mr Sharma added. Hem Pande, Former Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs said, “Consumers must be united and aware in these times. The Department of Consumer Affairs represented by P V Rama Shastry, Joint Secretary has recommended amendments via the Consumer Protection Bill 2015, which is expected to be discussed in parliament soon.

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