Sri Lanka has too many telcos, 2017 to be transformative year: Harin

Oct 10, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Minister of Digital Infrastructure and Telecommunication says that the island needs to look at ways of reducing it’s telecommunication providers as it is over crowded.

“We have five companies in Sri Lanka which is too much,” Harin Fernando, Minister of Digital Infrastructure and Telecommunication said.

“We are trying to look at ways that they can merge and bring it down to two or three operators so that a better service could be provided,” he said.

“And if Google loon works then we can also cut the CAPEX (capital expenditures) cost of the companies and get value addition instead and more content can be provided.”

Fernando said Sri Lanka was going through a “digital transformation” with a range of initiatives started by his ministry to digitize a host of activities enabling citizens to get their work and transactions done “with their fingertips.”

2017 will be an revolutionary year when many of the initiatives will start having an impact with all government institutions to be linked by high-speed broadband enabling them to share information and provide services online, he added.

“Out of the islands 65,000 km2, 32,000 are now layed with fiber optic cables and we also have two submarine cables giving high broadband speeds.”

He made these comments at a discussion during last weeks World Economic Forum in New Delhi on Sri Lanka’s key digitalisation strategy.

The discussion looked at broadening coverage in rural and remote areas, enabling cross-border infrastructure development and creating an environment for a competitive market.

Fernando said countries needed to find innovative methods as opposed to traditional ways to ensuring socially and economically beneficial digital transformation.

“Digitalisation is key for developing nations to progress and become competitive,”

“And it is critical in developing countries to create proper awareness about digitalisation to ensure success of the roll out of digitalisation strategy.”