Broadband speeds in India have progressed over time, including internet speeds, the technology behind all-round internet connectivity, and the requirement of users from internet connections. However, according to a submission made by the Broadband India Forum (BIF) in response to a consultation paper floated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the definition of a broadband internet connection for India has not progressed over time. Furthermore, the present minimum threshold of an internet connection having to offer a minimum 512kbps bandwidth to qualify as ‘broadband’ is “dismally low”, according to reports that confirmed BIF’s response to TRAI.
The BIF recommendation suggests a minimum internet bandwidth of 2Mbps, for both upload and download speeds, regardless of the medium and technology used to deliver the connection across regions in India. The BIF has also recommended segregating broadband internet connectivity into basic, fast and ultra-fast as categories, which would better help segregate fixed line internet services in India match a minimum standard in terms of quality of service.
Since the last time a broadband internet connection in India was defined, internet service in the country has evolved in leaps and bounds. Mobile internet services in the country have significantly come up, and today offer 4G mobile internet services – with 5G knocking on the door. For fixed line internet services, more regions are now connected by wired services, including gigabit-class fiber broadband connectivity. As a result of this, there is an inadequate disparity in broadband services across the country, which requires an update in terms of the basic framework of how internet connectivity across India is defined.
The TRAI had previously floated consultation papers to various stakeholders in India’s technology and telecom service providers, in which defining the minimum connectivity speeds is one of the many factors that require a regulatory overhaul. Going forward, it remains to be seen how the entire internet services sector is upgraded and adapted to, in line with how the technology is offered across India today.