Plan B

Feb. 06 (BLO) Sri Lanka’s key information technology communication agency, ICT Agency, plans to opt for a consortium built fibre optic internet backbone or data only licenses instead of the disputed regional telecom network licenses. Sri Lanka’s three-fixed line and four cellular network operators took the state ICT policy implementing body to courts in early 2005 over alleged exclusivity clauses in the two proposed regional telecom licenses and for deviating from legislated licensing practices.

The ICT Agency won a first round battle in the District courts, but a parallel Appeals Court case and a subsequent appeal on the District court ruling are up for hearing in May and June 2006.

The two regional telecom licenses, one for the North and East and the other for the deep South of the Island, were part of an overall strategy to connect backwater Sri Lanka to the rest of the world and to take ˜so far Colombo based’ citizen service to the districts.

The ICT Agency’s Programme Director, Information Infrastructure Reshan Dewapura said ICTA was in talks with the seven telco’s for an early settlement, as operator concerns over the licenses was delaying implementation of the e-Sri Lanka initiative.

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