Metered Bandwidth Trend Spreads To India

25 Comments

[qi:004] The metered bandwidth malaise that is spreading across the U.S. — Internet service providers such as Cox, Comcast (s CMCSA), Charter (s CHTR), Time Warner (s TWC) and AT&T (s T) are all dabbling at restricting your monthly bandwidth — is taking root in other parts of the world. In India, two major broadband suppliers – Airtel (click to download a pdf of their terms and conditions) and Tata Indicom — have started imposing restrictions on their already meager broadband offerings. We think metered broadband is a regressive move.

25 Comments

Criss

I remember reading a Year back on Times of India-the Newspaper that Government is Going to impose 2 mbps free plans to Desirable users who had a Land-line Phone Connection & other needed the Connection targeting to Bird with one Bullet
1. To Promote the popularity of Dying Landline Connections!
2. To Give Access to Poor people with Broadband !

Too Stubborn to Retract on the Part of the Governmment Maybe to Afraid of Speaking More on the Subject !

P.S. I Use a Wireless Connection From Local Provider Network Apex on Sify ISP’s a 256 kbps paying 1000 Rs. Reasonable seeing its wireless & Compared to the Wired Dsl rates but still poor to the foriegn Nationals especially to Scandinavian Countires too Sad from 7.5 million indian users Dont know and thus dont care for the Speeds of the Internet connection they are to happy with Orkut maybe popularity of Youtube maybe an eyeopener to them !?

Gadget Sleuth

How is 10GB-20GB a month “unlimited”? Sad indeed for the industry…but many countries have probably very limited bandwidth to work with, so they need to do what they have to, I guess.

Maneesh

BSNL DSL service had metered plans from day one. And when my parents got a new computer, Windows Update resulted in a really big bill that month. That’s where some of the bandwidth metering software for PCs comes in handy.

A

BSNL used to provide a 1 mbps business connection for Rs. 4,000. However, the download+upload limit for that account was restricted to 27 GB! Now it has a newer plan that costs something like Rs. 3,000 and has a limit of around 20 GB.

Players like Tata Indicom, Reliance and Airtel are worse with several shady plans strewn around like manholes on an unlit road, you can easily walk into them if you are not looking hard enough. And sadly, TRAI does not seem to have the internet on its priority list at all.

ABC

Om,

I believe its other way around. US is following India on this. India has metered broadband from very start so your article is very confusing.

Sidharth

BSNL has been the best broadband service provider for years now. They were the first ones to increase the speeds to 2Mbps. They are now the only ISP who have not announced any cap on their unlimited plans. Hope that they can now reduce the prices even further to put more pressure on the private ISP’s

gp

2 mbps with data limit is useless , unlimited plans are way too expensive

Tarun Dua

Hi Om,

Thanks for carrying the story. Here are some of my views about the arguments advanced by the apologists citing there is no un-limited free lunch.

-Tarun

Raul

Airtel provides the most stable connectivity, ‘Unlimited plans’ are around Rs 799( $16) for 256 Kbps, Rs 999 ($20) for 384 Kbps and Rs 1399 ($28) for 512 Kbps Unlimited. Airtel is now capping these plans, few people understand the need to cap such low speed plans but that’s how telecom providers operate.

However Airtel offers the best rates and service quality. Other players include Reliance, BSNL/MTNL and Tata Indicom but they either don’t have unlimited plans or have higher priced plans than Aairtel. BSNL does have a 256 Kbps unlimited plan for Rs 700 ($14) though.

A

It is interesting that Indian ISPs tend to ignore the good stuff about broadband worldwide but pick up bad habits almost immediately. So while Indians get charged almost Rs. 1500 (USD30) for 512 kbps unlimited, where the same money would get significantly better bandwidth in most developed countries, we now also have to contend with usage restrictions bordering on the ridiculous, while having the privilege paying the same prices.

The situation is risen due to lack of competition, compounded by almost non existent landline infrastructure created by private players. And then, there is are cable networks who only started deploying optic fibre and digital cable over the past few years. The last mile of the cable operators network is still owned by untrained and unscrupulous small sub operators who see little benefit in upgrading their systems as long as network is working adequately for delivering cable.

And ofcourse, international bandwidth is not cheap, thanks to government policies that resulted in creation of what certainly looks like a cartel in bandwidth supply.

Vikram

It’s ridiculous trying to stay within the bandwidth cap limits in India with video content becoming the norm now. No matter the plan, the customer is being fleeced.

I switched from a 3 mbps plan, since I kept exceeding the 2.5 GB monthly limit, to an unlimited 192 kbps plan (yes, they call 192 kbps “broadband”!), and yet I notice my download bandwidth being throttled quite often, especially with certain sites.

I can’t wait to get back to the US where internet plans are still affordable and not considered a luxury.

Shankar

Agree with Libran on this…this is probably news to non-Indian readers of Om’s blog but for those of us here having had “broadband” in India for the longest time, we’ve always had it metered…with the lack of the promised “killer app”, all forms of broadband (mobile or fixed) are probably going to be metered…

Manish J.

Unlimited internet from MTNL at 2mbps costs about USD 400/month…yes 400. Everything else is metered, the plan I have from MTLN is unlimited at night between 12am to 8am but everything else falls under their monthly cap of 1.25GB a month….1.25GB a month!!!

Om Malik

damn shame if that is indeed the case. i thought it was Rs. 4000 for 2 mbps. no? MTNL I guess is even more bone headed that the other two.

Amit Doshi

Its 4000 for 1Mbps, 7500 for 2Mbps from MTNL.

I cant see these guys getting away with this.Using the word unlimited here is false advertising. TRAI Consumer protections are pretty strong, and I for one will be making a complaint on their website.

Bandwidth caps are counterproductive in a country where few people(I think the number is 8 million as opposed to 75 million with internet enabled cell service) are using the internet on a PC. The selling point for these guys should be see how much you can do, instead of see how little you can do. At limits of a couple of GB all im going to be able to is check my email and basic surfing. So the argument becomes why would someone use the broadband internet on the PC instead of a cell phone, when the stuff I can do is about the same.

Shyam

Hey Om;
We were having metered broadband since the day internet was introduced I guess.

Shyam

Kawaljit

The sad part is that even unlimited broadband does not mean unlimited any more. Look at this offer from Reliance Communications (a leading telecom operator in India) – http://offers.connectindia.in/reliance/tariff.jsp

Written in small letters – *Unlimited usage plans will have a fair usage policy of 10GB/month.

Om Malik

yes, i do agree that is how carriers hide it. i am not sure how they expect people to pay more money for this stuff. i wouldn’t. you guys should start a petition or something in order to put pressure on the DOT

Spandan

Petition and result !!!

Come on OM. This is India. You very well know it!

They never even give the promised speed. It is a shame that these carriers ask for a “1st world price” for a “3rd world service”.

Libran Lover

Wasn’t almost ALL internet service in India metered from the very beginning? I thought unlimited broadband was the exception and metered broad was the rule in India as long as I’ve known. Am I missing something here?

Om Malik

well now it is all in writing and now there is little you can do. my hope is that BSNL and MTNL keep these guys honest. I am sure they are going to raise their rates as well. I think the idea of unlimited broadband at $5 a month at 2 mbps was actually pretty smart. there is not much damage you can do with that speed to be honest.

Sachin

Yes Om..Its very heart breaking. When I first came to know about it along with my monthly bill, I was shocked but not that much as I was aware that it is happening in other countries also so why not in India. But really its so said. I have even signed a petition also for this. Have a look at this link – http://afup.broadbandforum.in/. It is having all the updates related to this matter and the information of some services which may be affected by it –

Video conferencing/telecommunication
Video streaming
Distribution of legitimate software
Legal distribution of movies, music etc.
Work from home
Connecting businesses
VOIP etc.

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