With increasing subscriber base of mobile broadband in Pakistan as 3G services approach coverage of 100 cities, it is important to maintain the quality of broadband services and consistency of speed available to the people.
Wired broadband by PTCL is available in many parts of the country and PTCL wireless EVO services are spread across vast areas covering both rural and urban areas. Now 3G services from telecoms are making inroads with high speed broadband that penetrates most urban areas of the country.
Although the companies are complying with regulations and ensuring quality supply, it is important for PTA as a regulator to make the process more inclusive for the consumers. One way of ensuring consumer awareness, inclusion and satisfaction would be to collect broadband speed tests from common people.
Recently Canada’s regulator CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Communications) has asked internet users to help test broadband speed. The method is simple, all participants (about 6,200) will receive a ‘Whitebox’ that would be attached with the modem and it will periodically test internet speed when not in active use. The results would help in policy making as well as finding out if the users are getting the speed that was advertised by the internet companies.
Conducting speed tests in similar fashion, PTA can collect accurate and updated speed tests from general population from various parts of the country. The greatest advantage would be to not only hold broadband providers accountable for their services but also ensure that people get the service they paid for.
Another positive sign would be tracking the downtime of the service providers. So many services are unable to maintain continuous internet provision that it would help PTA to tabulate exact performance in various areas and compare it with policies and terms of services the companies signed up. It will not only give more strength to customer complaints, the areas where service issues are greater will cause the company to focus more upgrading infrastructure at its earliest.