- Apr 7, 2011
According to a report by Akamai, a firm that runs a globally distributed network of servers, in India the average internet speed was 0.8mbps in Q3 of 2010. This, according to the report, amounted to a -6.9% quarterly decline and a -9.1% yearly decline. India was the only country to see the fall in internet speed among the 12 Asian countries that were covered in the study.
According to Akamai, the average internet speed in the world was registered at 1.9mbps. South Korea topped the list of countries with fastest internet connection with average speed of over 13mbps. In the same list, India ranked 143. Among the table of 45 countries for which data was made available in the Akamai report, only Egypt and Sudan fared worse than India.
While number of broadband subscribers has increased in India, the quality of connection remained poor. "Though online research appears to indicate that the Indian government considers connections above 256 Kbps to be 'broadband', the continued growth in the percentage of connections below that threshold (2mbps) should be of some concern," the report noted. In India, it found that over 35% internet connections had a speed of 256kbps or less.
In the National Broadband Plan, which was prepared in December last year, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) suggested that minimum broadband speed should be increased to 512kbps from January 1, 2011.
"It is universally recognized that the minimum speed as per definition of broadband in India is very low i.e. 256kbps. What has been proposed by the Authority as part of the National Broadband Plan is a minimum download speed of 512 Kbps immediately and 2 Mbps by January 1, 2015," noted TRAI. "It is absolutely essential that this definition is adopted; failing which, there will be serious quality of service issues."
However, four months later, the recommendations are yet to be enforced and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) continue to offer "broadband" plans with 256kbps speed.
Sources allege that most of private ISPs don't want the government to increase the minimum broadband speed. Broadband users claim these service providers sell high-speed internet connections but with "ridiculous data limits of 5GB per month". The practice, termed 'fair usage policy', stipulates that once a subscriber has consumed the allotted data, his speed is reduced to 256kbps, in some cases from as high as 4mbps.