Broad Backbone

Sept 08, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is planning an optical fibre backbone to take broadband internet access to rural areas of the island, with the infrastructure to be built as a public private partnership, an official said. Sri Lanka Telecom, the island’s largest fixed access firm has been laying fibre optic ring around the capital and parts of the island, but Dharmasiri says the planned backbone would stretch wider into rural areas.

Dharmasiri de Alwis, network chief of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission says Sri Lanka Railways and the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) would be partners in the project which is backed by the island’s ICT Agency.

A 15 million dollar funding package from World Bank is also in the offing he said.

The World Bank has been pumping money to Sri Lanka’s ICT Agency to develop rural internet access under an initiative known as e-Sri Lanka.

De Alwis says the high tension transmission network of the CEB would allow fibre optic cables to be drawn deep into rural Sri Lanka at minimal cost.

Since optical fibre uses light to transmit data, there would not be electromagnetic interference from power lines, he said.

The state tailways also has a track network stretching