Sri Lanka: Regulator wants broadband users to be informed

Posted on September 28, 2010  /  0 Comments

Earlier this year the TRC appointed a special committee to develop broadband in Sri Lanka. Possibly based on its recommendations the TRC has issued new directives on broadband, placing emphasis on customer’s right to know, an approach we at LIRNEasia also promoted a few months prior to the constitution of the committee. The guidelines had been issued in August. We regret not giving them publicity at the time.

With the intention of raising awareness among broadband subscribers, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission has issued a set of guidelines for broadband service providers. In this context TRCSL has directed all broadband operators in the country to make available the broadband Internet related information to the public in a dedicated web portal contained in the operator’s main website.

The decision to desist from imposing strict performance standards, and instead to focus on making customers aware of what they are getting is commendable. Again, the new Director General has shown a maturity not exhibited by his predecessor. We have not analyzed the guidelines in detail (we work in 12 countries, not only Sri Lanka; and broadband QOS is not the only thing we work on). While thanking the reader who brought the matter to our notice, we hereby request others to join in the discussion.

To get the discussion started, here is what I wrote on QoS regulation in the context of the Budget Telecom Network Model in a report to the OECD last year:

5.5 Quality-of-service regulation
In the same way that one cannot expect silver tea service on RyanAir, one cannot expect premium service from budget telecom networks. All operators are likely to offer sub-optimal quality because of the need to squeeze as much traffic as possible into the network. Strict and aggressive QOS regulation is inimical to the model. However, it is also naïve to expect competition to prevent the operators from letting QOS fall to unacceptable levels. Therefore, gentle supervision of QOS, focusing primarily on publishing QOS performance against benchmarks and ensuring that barriers to unhappy customers switching suppliers are kept low, would be the most appropriate.

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