Rajesh Chharia, President of the Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) has said that the move to cancel district level ISP licences will hurt small entrepreneurs and consumers, reports the Hindu. I also came across this story which states that over 50 percent of operational ISPs own a district level licence. DoT has issued termination notices to 51 ISPs, and will be sending notices to 40 others. The ISPAI, on the other hand, has called for interconnection with mobile and fixed line operators (i.e. access to the last mile) for additional revenue for the licence fee.
It’s one thing wanting to weed out non-performing ISPs, but that clearly doesn’t guarantee good services. Look around the net, and you’ll find angry posts in forums and on blogs from consumers who have had a terrible experience with their ISPs: I’ve had an awful experience with Hotwire and Sify in Delhi (2-3 months of a hardly working connection each a couple of years ago), and recently, have had problems with MTNL, and on wireless with Indicom. Consumer court takes far too long…one ends up choosing the ISP with least problems. Clearly, scale isn’t enough to ensure good connectivity…so what is this policy change all about?