According to Broadband India Forum (BIF), the current definition of broadband and speeds in India should be reviewed and redefined. To this end, BIF has said that broadband speeds should be upgraded from current 512 kbps to 2 Mbps.

The industry think tank in its submission to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), said that the current definition of broadband captures neither the development of the technology nor the Indian consumers’ appetite for high speed broadband services, it must be reviewed and redefined. Further, BIF suggested that network must comply with the requirement to provide 2 Mbps download and upload speeds, regardless of the medium or technology used to deliver the service.

The submissions was part of BIF’s response to the TRAI’s consultation paper on ‘Road map to promote broadband connectivity and enhanced broadband speed’.

Subsequently, BIF suggested that different categories of broadband such as ‘Basic, Fast, and Ultra-Fast’ can help in setting optional thresholds that can serve distinct use cases. Further, it added that periodical reviews must be conducted to keep pace with the development of access services and customer expectations. Meanwhile, it also recommended the creation of additional tiers that represent increasing levels of quality and enhance transparency in the provision of services, but are entirely optional for service providers to guarantee.

According to BIF, TRAI should provide additional guidelines for higher quality broadband services. It suggested that minimum downlink and uplink speed of 15 Mbps to define ‘fast broadband’, and 30 Mbps for ‘ultra-fast broadband’.

As per BIF, communications technology has transformed radically over the past years and numerous modern internet applications and use cases now require higher speeds than prescribed by the current definition. It added that the broadband speeds in India are less than half of the global good practices even after introduction of 4G.

Meanwhile, the telecom operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have opposed the view to increase the minimum speed from the existing 512 kbps. To this end, the telcos have written to TRAI that the current priority should be on ensuring availability and affordability of broadband services, instead of mandating higher speeds.