Sci & Tech

Speedy Internet, Easy Internet

Major ISPs have announced data caps for each Internet speed. The new policy will offer users some relief as prices have been lowered and the caps are significantly higher than the limits that were imposed by the Internet companies up until last week
By the end 2016, close to 53% of Iranians had access to the Internet.By the end 2016, close to 53% of Iranians had access to the Internet.
ISP services will be closely monitored by the CRA. The ombudsman Hossein Fallah Joshghani has informed operators to comply with terms of their agreement with subscribers

Local ISPs on Saturday announced lower Internet tariffs following introduction of a mandatory landline Internet Fair Usage Policy by the Communication Regulatory Authority.

CRA’s move is aimed at expanding access to the Internet. Implementation of the new tariffs hopefully will lead to decreased costs and improved connectivity, ICTNA reported.

Through the new pricing rules, each landline ISP is required to announce a bandwidth cap for different Internet speeds. A bandwidth cap, also known as a band cap or a data cap, is a limit imposed on the transfer of data over a network. Although often referred to as a “bandwidth cap”, it is not the actual bandwidth (bits transferred per second) that is limited, but the amount of data downloaded per month.

Furthermore, a maximum monthly fee has been set based on Internet speed ranging from 125,000 rials ($3) for 512 Kbps services to 800,000 rials ($20) for a 16 Mbps connection.

Major local ISPs including Shatel, HiWeb, Pars Online, Asia Tech and Telecommunication Company of Iran have announced their new data caps for each Internet speed. The caps and tariffs certainly will offer users some long-awaited relief as prices have been cut and caps are significantly higher than the limits imposed by ISPs up until last week.

For instance, getting 4Mbps Shatel Internet service with a 110 gigabyte data cap now costs 400,000 rials ($10). Previously, the company offered a 4Mbps connection for 440,000 rials ($11) with a 4 GB data usage limit.

According to the CRA’s Fair Usage Policy, henceforth, even if users exceed their nominal data cap the ISPs cannot disconnect them but are allowed only to decrease the Internet speed to 128 Kbps and not lower. Even with the lower speed, supposedly users would be able to access websites and online services with a relatively low but acceptable speed.

Service providers are also obliged to notify customers before reaching the cap. Users can pay additional fees to forestall the decrease in speed. For the ‘extra Internet usage’ ISPs cannot charge subscribers more than 20,000 rials (50 cents) per gigabyte. The previous average price for each extra gigabyte of Internet usage was about 40,000 rials ($1).

 Monitoring Pledge

ISP services will be closely scrutinized by the CRA. The ombudsman’s director Hossein Fallah Joshghani told operators to comply with terms of their agreement with subscribers. “If the CRA comes across any irregularity or receives complaints against the Internet companies, it will take legal action against the ISPs.”

One of the main indicators that will be monitored by the CRA is Internet speed. The speed should not be lower than what is mutually agreed and fluctuations below 5% will be disregarded by the state regulator.

Joshghani called on the ISPs to recheck with the CRA “if they think any part of the new rules is vague.”

If implemented, the Fair Usage Policy will increase access to the Internet, enabling the nation to improve its global ICT ranking. The latest data on ICT development released by the International Telecommunication Union show 53% of Iranians had access to the Internet by the end of 2016 and 62% of households were connected to the Internet.

According to ITU, Iran ranks 81 globally and 12th in Asia on the ICT Development Index.



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