DIBRUGARH, Oct 6 - The Union Telecom Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, made loud promises almost a month ago saying that the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) would increase broadband speed to a minimum of 2 mbps (mega bits per second) from the earlier minimum speed of 512 kilobits per second (kbps). However, in several parts of the State since October 1 this year, the broadband speed has gone down substantially, averaging 256 kbps speeds.
Even subscribers with high-value data plans in places like Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia are bitterly complaining that broadband speeds have gone down to a crawl, reminding these subscribers of the dial-up days, when maximum speeds used to be in the range of 38 to 48 kbps.
Now, when a BSNL subscriber is paying upwards of Rs 3,000 per month, the minimum he or she can expect is at least 6 mbps download speeds. However, in reality, the subscribers are getting 128 or 256 kbps speeds.
One such annoyed subscriber has sent a message to the Telecom Minister on Twitter informing him about the low BSNL broadband speed. However, the Minister is yet to respond.
On the other hand, the BSNL authorities continue to remain in denial. One of its assistant general managers here, S K Pati, reportedly told Madhukar Khemka, a subscriber, that �mobile and broadband services are working fine in Dibrugarh secondary switching area (SSA)�. The Dibrugarh SSA covers Dibrugarh and Tinsukia revenue districts. According to Khemka, a tea planter, grievances of genuine customers are �simply ticked off� by the incompetent and incoherent BSNL managers and engineers.
While call drops continue to remain a nuisance, mobile data plans are misleading the customer. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) does make some feeble noise over call drops and substandard data services, but it appears that the service providers need to be dealt with more sternly to make them deliver what the customer has paid for. As on today, neither the BSNL nor the private telecom service providers has lived up to the expectation of the customers.