Tuesday, December 11, 2001

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India(TRAI) has laid down quality benchmarks for ISPs.

Under these, a susbscriber should be able to connect to the Internet within 30 seconds and three attempts.

How TRAI intends to enforce this is anybody's guess.

But a more important quality issue is one of bandwidth and speed of connectivity.

A friend, drawn by the great broadband dream, subscribed to a DSL connection, which had promised 64 kpbs speeds.

A few minutes into his connection, he discovered the speeds were no better than on a dial-up. He asked the Dishnet representative why he was getting a throughput of between 4 and 8 kbps, which on a good day is what you get from a VSNL dial up.
Oh but that's the standard, said the representative.
But you had promised me a 48 kbps throughput, insisted our friend.
Yeah that's what you are getting, said the representative.

My friend missed the fine print. The 64kbps refers to bits, the representative told my shocked friend, and not bytes. Around 7 to 9 bits make a byte. So 8 kilobytes translates into around 48 bits.

And my friend's broadband dream had turned sour.

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