Regulator test:
Broadband speeds far below advertised rates
TRC says corrective measures led to improvements, asks subscribers to complain
Mobile broadband speed results out next month

The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRC) said broadband speeds have improved after corrective measures were taken by it after it was discovered that fixed broadband service providers have been providing download speeds far below what was being advertised.

The TRC recently released results of broadband download speed test conducted on fixed broadband service providers, Dialog, Lanka Bell and Sri Lanka Telecom. The tests were conducted by a fully equipped broadband monitoring unit set up by the TRC.

"The initial test results recorded during September 2010 have shown that the speeds were far below the advertised rate during the peak hours especially in respect to the international domains," the TRC said in a statement.

"During peak time the download speed slows down heavily causing innumerable problems to internet users. Recent download speed tests conducted on fixed broadband services by the TRC and subsequent corrective measures adopted by TRCSL have led to broadband operators improving their download speeds by over 60% and in turn ensuring a much faster service to broadband users during peak hours," it said.

The TRC said if subscribers did not continue to receive proper broadband download speeds, complaints should be made.

"The released test results reflect the performance of fixed broadband services in the country. The download speed represents the peak time rates between a test terminal and a server located in a foreign territory. For this particular test the performance and speed of broadband services in the United States and United Kingdom were chosen for the evaluation of International download speeds. Though the tests were conducted over a period of 24 hours on a regular basis for the last two months, the test results between 9 a.m. and 12 midnight were used as the basis for the plotting of the graph," the TRC said.

"The TRC has commenced discussions with operators to examine the possibility of hosting a test file at ISP’s international POP in the future. In addition the TRC is planning to introduce a testing facility to enable users to test their broadband download speed accurately by running a service which will be available at the respective operator’s web site. It is a well developed user friendly system that gives valuable information to the user about the service being provided which includes RTT, packet loss, jitter, upload and download speeds. Until such time this mechanism is in place, the TRC will continue to publish download (Intl’) speed test results.

In respect to fixed wireless services, the TRC will conduct remote tests in other parts of the island to identify their last mile issues; if they exist," the TRC said.

The TRC has also begun work on developing new standards for broadband services in the country.

"In this respect there will be two distinct standards for volume based and unlimited broadband services. The main objective of this endeavor would be to offer the best service to end - users by lowering the access charges in high speed services above 1Mbps. However with the introduction of a minimum download speed level in unlimited packages, operators have stressed the importance of having a FUP to minimize network abuse in the future," the TRC said.

"The new proposed standards would not only regulate broadband speeds but they would also create new market opportunities for the operators to serve a wider customer base especially in under-served urban and rural areas where individual income is relatively low. The results of mobile broadband services will be published in January 2011," it said.

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