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Bahrain reveals improved broadband services

Neutel is the biggest gainer i Q4 2010 although speeds still fall below industry average

Bahrain reveals improved broadband services
TRA's Technical and Operations Director Mohammed Mahmood says that the TRA broadband report aims to provide consumers with quantitative data relating to the actual quality of service achieved by all operating internet service providers.

The Bahrain Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has released its analysis report on the quality of specific fixed broadband retail services offered by licensed Internet Services Providers (ISPS) in Bahrain for Q4 2010.

"Whilst internet providers do provide the basic level of information required to allow customers to make decisions relating to price, expected download speed and download threshold, they do not make available information relating to the download, upload and browsing speeds experienced on average by consumers. Via this report TRA aim at providing consumers with quantitative data relating to the actual quality of service achieved by all operating internet service providers to allow consumers to make informed decisions by understanding what is likely to be provided by each provider. Comparing this report with the previous two reports issued by TRA we can see stability in the quality of services provided to end user," said TRA's Technical and Operations Director Mohammed Mahmood.

The report shows that the average actual download speed for has decreased for services sold as 1Mbps connections in Q4 2010 from 0.82Mbps in Q3 2010 to 0.79Mbps in Q4 2010.

Speeds for the 2Mbps packages however have increased between the quarters from 1.08Mbps in Q3 2010 to 1.16Mbps in Q4 2010.

"Average download time is something that will fluctuate from one quarter to the other, compared to Q2 the average performance has increased but decreased compared to Q3.

There are many internal and external elements that influence the observed speed so there will be fluctuation," said Abdulelah Abdulla, Communications Manager for the TRA.

Four of the 1Mbps service providers; Connect ADSL, Batelco ADSL, Kalaam and Lightspeed ADSL performed above the industry average, while Etisalcom ADSL performed exactly the average. Providers performed under the industry average were Nuetel Cable and Orbit Satellite.

"The 1Mbps average included the performance of Orbit service and this one is different by nature and more prone to large fluctuations. This is why it will be removed and kept separately in reports going forward," said Abdulla.

In the 2Mbps category, Mena WiMax performed above the industry average at 1.20Mbps, while Zain WiMax fell short at 1.11Mbps.

All service providers except Neutel, lost download speed in Q4 2010. Neutel, the only gainer in Q4 saw speeds improve from 0.69Mbps in Q3 2010 to 0.73 in Q4 2010, although their figures are still below average speeds.

"In effect Nuetel average download speed has improved slightly however it remains below 1Mbps industry average and this is a configuration constraint imposed by design on the service. Saying this, in upload speed, cache and non cache downloads the performance of the service is above all other players," said Abdulla.

Service speeds have improved across the board since the first TRA report in Q2 2010, when the 1Mbps download average was 0.74Mbps and the 2Mbps average was 1.10Mbps.

The TRA says that all service providers are currently working to optimise their networks and they are confident there has been no significant service degradation across the three quarters they have been monitoring broadband services.

"TRA will continue its campaign to monitor and report the quality of services of certain fixed broadband packages.  It is not feasible for TRA to monitor all the available packages from all ISPs and therefore the choice has been initially made to focus on the packages1Mbps for aDSL, Fiber, Satellite Services and  2Mbps for WiMax Services. The report covers services from the following ISPs: 2Connect, Batelco, Etisalcom, Kalaam, Lightspeed, NueTel, Orbit, Menatelecom and Zain," said Mahmood.

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