Tata Sky Broadband Introduces 1500GB FUP Cap on Unlimited Plans: Here’s What We Know

Tata Sky Broadband plans come in two varieties – Fixed GB plans and Unlimited plans. The Fixed GB plans, as the name suggests, offer a cap on data that varies with the package you subscribe. Until today, the unlimited broadband plans came with no cap on data or speed. However, the company seems to have changed its fine print, and has now started to throttle speed after the cap of 1500GB of data. This fine print can be spotted on the company website, and Tata Sky Broadband will take the Internet speed down to 2Mbps post the 1500GB cap.

The operator has changed the terms and conditions on its site for Unlimited plans. The company website has now added a new condition for Unlimited plans that reads, “For Unlimited Data plans, speed will reduce to 2Mbps after 1500GB data consumption.” This condition wasn’t mentioned before for unlimited plans.

Tata Sky Broadband Unlimited plans are offered with monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, and annual validity. The price of these plans start from Rs. 900. The Internet speeds offered via these plans range from 25Mbps to 100Mbps. Currently, Tata Sky Broadband is offering 15 percent discount on its annual plans, and 10 percent discount on its half-yearly plans.

The change in fair usage policy (FUP) was spotted by OnlyTech first.

A recent report suggests that Tata Sky Broadband is planning to offer its subscribers landline service with unlimited voice calling soon. This will be offered to Unlimited Plan subscribers only.

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TRAI Recommends Making Set-Top Box Interoperability Compulsory

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Saturday recommended that all DTH and cable set-top-boxes (STBs) provided to the customers must support interoperability and urged the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to make it mandatory by introducing the requisite provisions. Interoperable set-top boxes will allow consumers to change their DTH operator without buying a new set-top box. Presently the STBs deployed in the Cable TV networks are non-interoperable — the same STB cannot be used interchangeably across the different service providers.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) also recommended the mandatory provisioning of USB port-based common interface for all digital television sets in India.

“All the set-top-boxes in India must support technical interoperability in principle, i.e. every STB provided to a consumer must be interoperable,” the TRAI recommended.

The TRAI also called for the setting up of a coordination committee by the I&B ministry having members from Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, TRAI, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and representatives of TV manufacturers.

“The committee may steer implementation of revised STB standards for both the DTH and the Cable TV segment,” it said.

The lack of interoperability of STBs between different service providers not only deprives customer of the freedom to change his or her service provider but also creates a hindrance to technological innovation, improvement in service quality, and the overall sector growth, the TRAI said.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) may include a suitable clause or condition in the permission, registration or Cable Television Network Rule mandating all the distribution platform operators (DTH as well as Multi-System Operators) to compulsorily facilitate service provisioning through the interoperable STBs either provided by DPOs or procured by the consumers from open market, it said.

The MIB, in collaboration with the BIS, should make suitable amendments in specified standards for STBs, the TRAI said.

It said DTH and MSO players should be given a time for six months to adopt “DVB CI+ 2.0 standards (with USB CAM)” in line with the ETSI standards (European Telecommunications Standards Institute).

Such specifications must mandate TV manufacturers to provide all digital television sets with at least one open interface port based on DVB CI Plus 2.0 standards permitting simple connection of USB CAM to allow reception of television signals, the TRAI said.

They must also provide the digital television sets with built in tuners to enable reception of television content through both satellite and cable platforms, it said.

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US Agencies Back Revoking Ability of China Telecom to Operate in US

The US Justice Department and other federal agencies on Thursday called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to revoke China Telecom (Americas) Corp’s authorisation to provide international telecommunications services to and from the United States.

China Telecom is the US subsidiary of a People’s Republic of China (PRC) state-owned telecommunications company. Last year, two US senators asked the FCC to review approvals of China Telecom and China Unicom to operate in the United States.

The FCC last May voted unanimously to deny another state-owned Chinese telecommunications company, China Mobile, the right to provide services in the United States, citing risks that the Chinese government could use the approval to conduct espionage against the US government, It said then that it was “looking” at the licenses of China Telecom and China Unicom.

China Telecom (Americas) rejected the allegations and said it has “been extremely cooperative and transparent with regulators.”

“In many instances, we have gone beyond what has been requested to demonstrate how our business operates and serves our customers following the highest international standards,” the company said in a statement. “We look forward to sharing additional details to support our position and addressing any concerns.”

China’s foreign ministry said on Friday that Beijing is “firmly opposed” to any action by the United States against China Telecom.

“We urge the United States to respect market economy principles, to cease its mistaken practices of generalising national security and politicising economic issues, and to cease unjustifiable oppression of Chinese companies,” Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters during a daily briefing.

China’s telecommunications networks and companies have come under heightened scrutiny by US agencies. An FCC spokeswoman said the agency “has been looking at this issue. We welcome the input of the executive branch agencies and will review it carefully.”

The agencies, including Homeland Security, Defense, State, Commerce, and the United States Trade Representative, cited “substantial and unacceptable national security and law enforcement risks associated with China Telecom’s operations.”

Those included concerns that China Telecom could be controlled or influenced by China’s government. The agencies also said China Telecom’s US operations might allow Chinese government entities “to engage in malicious cyber activity enabling economic espionage and disruption and misrouting of US communications.”

In September, US Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer and Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican, raised concerns that China Telecom and China Unicom “have access to our telephone lines, fiber optic cables, cellular networks and satellites in ways that could give it (China) the ability to target the content of communications of Americans or their businesses and the US government.”

On Wednesday, the FCC agreed to allow Alphabet unit Google to use part of an US-Asia undersea telecommunications cable.

Google agreed to operate only a portion of the 8,000-mile Pacific Light Cable Network System between the United States and Taiwan, but not Hong Kong. Google and Facebook helped pay for construction of the now completed telecommunications link but US regulators have blocked its use.

On Wednesday, the Justice Department said US agencies believe “there is a significant risk that the grant of a direct cable connection between the United States and Hong Kong would seriously jeopardize the national security and law enforcement interests of the United States.”

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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Vodafone Idea Now Offering Cashback to its Subscribers for Recharging Other People’s Prepaid Accounts

Following Airtel and Jio’s footsteps, Vodafone Idea has introduced a new #RechargeforGood programme that enables a subscriber to earn commission for recharging other prepaid accounts. Vodafone Idea is offering up to 6 percent cashback on recharges done by an existing Vodafone or Idea customer for someone else. These recharges need to be performed using the MyVodafone or MyIdea apps. The 6 percent Vodafone cashback offer is more than Jio and Airtel’s 4.16 percent commission and 4 percent cashback on the similar schemes.

The Vodafone Idea offer comes as retailers and company shops are closed due to the the coronavirus lockdowns, leaving many subscribers in lurch who don’t necessarily use online modes for their telecom needs. This Vodafone Idea cashback and similar commission from other operators will entice regular users to help their friends, family, neighbours, and people in these tough times.

Vodafone is promoting the #RechargeforGood programme using a banner in the MyVodafone app. The subscribers of the telecom operator do not have to register separately or install another app to earn this cashback. They just have to do the recharge, and the cashback amount will be credited to the user account within 96 hours.

Vodafone says that it is offering Rs. 10 cashback on the popular Rs. 149 recharge, and Rs. 20 on the Rs. 249 recharge. The cashback varies based on the recharge value, and up to 6 percent cashback is offered by Vodafone. One important thing to note is that the user will have to recharge using the MyVodafone and MyIdea apps only, and recharging from anywhere else will not earn them any cashback. Vodafone notes that this offer is live only till April 30.

This comes after Airtel introduced the ‘Earn From Home’ plan, wherein an Airtel subscriber has to register to become a Superhero, and then subsequent recharge other people’s prepaid accounts else will earn them a cashback. Airtel offers an outright cut in recharge amount, wherein the Superhero will have to pay less for the recharge at checkout, and collect the full amount from the customer. The difference is their earnings from this. So, if the recharge done is of Rs. 149, the Airtel Superhero member will only have to pay Rs. 143 to Airtel, while collect the full amount from the customer.

Jio subscribers will have to download a separate JioPOS Lite app, register as a Jio Partner, and fill their wallet with some money to start earning. The app can be downloaded for free for Android from Google Play Store. There is no iOS version right now.

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US Approves Google Request to Use Segment of US-Asia Undersea Cable

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Wednesday approved Alphabet unit Google’s request to use part of a US-Asia undersea telecommunications cable after the company warned it would face significantly higher prices to carry traffic by other means.

Google agreed to operate a portion of the 8,000-mile Pacific Light Cable Network System between the United States and Taiwan, but not Hong Kong. Google and Facebook helped pay for construction of the now completed telecommunications link but US regulators have blocked its use.

The Justice Department earlier told the FCC in a petition it supported Google’s revised request. The agency said US agencies believe “there is a significant risk that the grant of a direct cable connection between the United States and Hong Kong would seriously jeopardise the national security and law enforcement interests of the United States.”

Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, whose relations with the United States have soured over the deadly coronavirus pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, trade disputes and security concerns.

In a statement, Google thanked the FCC for approving its request and added “dedicated global network deployment and operations team is continually increasing capacity to meet the needs of our users, and that includes our subsea cable system.”

The FCC is allowing Google to operate the segment for the next six months, pending a final disposition of the license application.

Google told regulators earlier this year it has “an immediate need to meet internal demand for capacity between the US and Taiwan, in particular to connect Google’s Taiwan data center to Google data centres in the United States and to serve users throughout the Asia-Pacific region.”

It added that without that “capacity, the value of large, recent capital investments Google has made in the United States is significantly reduced.”

The Justice Department said without temporary authority “Google would likely have to seek alternative capacity at significantly higher prices.”

Google has also agreed to “pursue diversification of interconnection points in Asia,” as well as to establish network facilities that deliver traffic “as close as practicable” to its ultimate destination, the department added.

The United States has expressed concerns about China’s role in handling network traffic and potential for espionage. Around 300 subsea cables form the backbone of the internet by carrying 99% of the world’s data traffic.

A Facebook affiliate sought FCC approval to use a portion of the cable connecting the Philippines to the United States to handle traffic.

Facebook said on Wednesday it is “navigating through all the appropriate channels on licensing and permitting.”

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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Jio Launches JioPOS Lite App Allowing Regular Subscribers to Recharge Other Users and Earn Commission

Jio has launched a new JioPOS Lite community recharge app in India. This app is available on Google Play Store and it allows any individual to become a Jio Partner and perform prepaid recharges for other Jio subscribers and earn money. The registration process on this app is quite easy, and it requires no hardcopy of documents, neither does it need any physical verification. After becoming a Jio Partner via this JioPOS Lite app, any user can recharge the accounts of other Jio customer and earn commission. While you can already recharge Jio prepaid accounts of other people using MyJio app or Jio website but Jio doesn’t offer a commission to you on those recharges.

The JioPOS Lite app offers 4.16 percent commission to Jio Partners for recharging other numbers. It has a passbook feature that allows Jio Partners to see their earnings and check their transactions in the last 20 days. Once you install the app and give it the necessary permissions, JioPOS Lite will ask you to register and become a Jio Partner. You will have to have a Jio number to be eligible to become a Jio Partner. After the registration process is done, the app will ask you to load money into your wallet. The denominations offered are Rs. 500, Rs. 1,000, and Rs. 2,000. On every Rs. 100 spent via the app, the agent gets Rs. 4.166 extra i.e. 4.16 percent of the recharge amount.

The app shows popular prepaid recharge plans to the Jio Partner for helping him recharge the most apt plans for their friends, family, and customers. There is also a FAQ section informing users of all the available recharges. The app was first spotted by a user named DJ Roy on the DreamDTH forums.

JioPOS Lite app can be download for free for Android from Google Play Store. There is no iOS version right now.

This comes soon after Airtel rolled out its ‘Earn from Home’ scheme. It allowed users to become a Superhero via the Airtel app, and then get a 4 percent cashback on every recharge done from the Airtel app. There is a banner inside the Airtel app informing users of the new ‘Earn from Home’ scheme. Clicking on it and enrolling as a Superhero will allow users to start earning 4 percent on every recharge. So, if the recharge done is of Rs. 149, the Airtel Superhero member will only have to pay Rs. 143 to Airtel, while collect the full amount from the customer. The difference is money earned per transaction.

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Tasneem Akolawala When not expelling tech wisdom, Tasneem feeds on good stories that strike on all those emotional chords. She loves road trips, a good laugh, and interesting people. She binges on movies, sitcoms, food, books, and DIY videos. More

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