Broadband speeds far below advertised rates, TRC

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Fixed broadband service providers in Sri Lanka have been providing download speeds far below advertised rates at peak times especially from international domains, the telecommunications regulator has said.

But ‘corrective measures’ by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) after its recent tests have led to operators improving their speeds, it said in a statement.The TRC website has published the first set of broadband download speed test results conducted on fixed broadband services. 

Subscribers who are still dissatisfied should complain to their operators, the regulator said.

Both fixed wired and fixed wireless (ADSL and WiMAX) services were selected for the evaluation and their available international download speeds during busy hours were taken into consideration.

The tests were conducted by a broadband monitoring unit established by TRC on its premises which began operations during the third quarter of 2010.

“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 statement said.

“During peak time the download speed slows down heavily causing innumerable problems to internet users.”

But the performance has improved following the tests, the TRC said.

“Recent download speed tests conducted on fixed broadband services by the TRC and subsequent corrective measures adopted by TRC have led to broadband operators improving their download speeds by over 60 percent and in turn ensuring a much faster service to broadband users during peak hours.

“However, if the subscribers are not receiving proper broadband download speeds in their connections similar to the result pattern experienced by the TRC, subscribers can complain to the respective operators.”

In the TRC tests, download speeds were measured at the peak time rates between a test terminal and servers located in the United States and United Kingdom.

The tests were conducted over a period of 24 hours on a regular basis for the last two months. The peak times measured were between 9 a.m. and 12 midnight.

“It is the responsibility of the internet service provider to ensure an acceptable speed level in broadband especially during busy hours,” the TRC said.

It explained, however, that broadband is a network service that distributes its available resources among many subscribers who uses the service to access the internet.

“The sharing mechanism of network elements helps service providers to minimize per user cost drastically by distributing it among many subscribers.”

The broadband speeds advertised are “theoretical maximum levels” and their availability will depend on many factors, the TRC explained.

“The data transfer speed in broadband is not a constant value and varies from time to time and depends on network conditions.”

The TRC also said most commercial institutions in Sri Lanka prefer to use broadband services for commercial activities instead of using internet leased circuits, despite their guaranteed speeds because of their high cost.


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