Sri Lanka needs to accelerate broadband development: Harin


Aug 09, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s government says that as the island embarks on a journey of transformation to become a digitally enabled and empowered society, the importance of having a robust fixed-broadband base to build upon is critical.

“We strongly believe that this is indeed the ripe time to accelerate broadband development in Sri Lanka,” Harin Fernando, Minister of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure said.

“The telecommunication industry of the country has showcased tremendous improvement over the recent years. As a new era of rapid worldwide development dawns for the global broadband industry.”

According to Ovum’s research, an independent consultancy firm specializing in global coverage of IT, and telecommunications industries says that Sri Lanka’s fixed-broadband penetration compared to a broad basket of South and Southeast Asian countries is relatively high, ranking 5 out of 10 countries surveyed but is still lagging when compared to the more developed Asian nations.

Sri Lanka trails leading markets such as Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, where both DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) and FTTH (Fiber To The Home) penetration rates are far higher, Ovum said.

“Fixed-broadband household penetration remains low, with DSL penetration of 10.3 percent at the end of 2015. Low household penetration and the lack of a strong FTTH market correlates closely to the country’s lower ranking in terms of average download speeds.”

Industry experts say that Fiber is a much better and faster way to get broadband, and has the speed and reliability of cable Internet service. However a fiber connection is more expensive than a standard DSL connection.

These thoughts were expressed at the first Sri Lanka national broadband forum, themed “A Better Connected Sri Lanka” co-hosted by Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure and Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, co-organized by Huawei held in Colombo, Monday.

The forum served as an industry dialogue platform, bringing together senior policy makers of the government, local operators, service operators, and industry stakeholders to shape a shared agenda of facilitating the widespread of broadband rollout as the key component to digital economy in Sri Lanka.

The half-day event featured a line-up of speakers from the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka, Huawei, a global ICT solution provider, Ovum, iFlix, as well as major local telecom operators.

“The vision of building a digital connected nation is a formidable undertaking and we appreciate the government’s efforts to spearhead initiatives that inspire constructive participation from industry leaders,”
Wang Shunli, chief executive officer, Huawei Sri Lanka said.

“I hope this is just the first of many broadband forums to be held in Sri Lanka.”

The inaugural forum concluded with calls from industry players, experts and government agencies for the implementation of efforts toward the rapid delivery of broadband development strategies, encouraging conductive regulatory policies, and significantly increased inter-ministerial and industry collaboration within the country’s broadband sector – all of which were discussed at the event.