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Sri Lanka: Leased line prices to be lowered to encourage BPO business and Internet use

A news report indicates that lowering leased line prices (described as commercial broadband in the report has risen on the policy agenda in Sri Lanka. This is excellent news, though, of course, I would have preferred a story in the past tense: i.e., “domestic and international leased line prices have been reduced.”

Present broadband charges which are higher than competitor countries are deterring foreign ICT and business process outsourcing (BPO) firms from setting up in the island and are partly responsible for poor internet penetration, a report said.
“The cost of commercial broadband and internet links such as IPLC ((international private leased circuit) and leased lines is higher in Sri Lanka when compared to the region,” said the ICT draft plan by the ministry of telecommunications and information technology.

“This makes Sri Lanka less attractive for companies setting up, especially in the early days when heavy cash outflows exist.”

The availability of such quality services need to be expanded so that companies can locate regionally where pockets of talent exist, said the paper which was discussed at a meeting of government and industry officials Tuesday.

We are made happy by this announcement because it reflects the success of our efforts to initiate action through the collection and publication of benchmark data for several years. We did not stop at mere publication, but made specific criticisms about our prices being higher than those in Bangladesh and Bhutan.

High leased line prices, both domestic and foreign, must be brought down. There is much room for improvement by Sri Lanka as can be seen from the table below. A few years ago, Sri Lanka had low prices relative to its peers, but now even Bangladesh is cheaper because the regulator there has been paying attention. It is shocking that mountainous, landlocked Bhutan offers lower prices than Sri Lanka.

High-quality, low-cost leased lines with a choice among suppliers is a necessary condition for the effective application of knowledge to services, manufacturing and agriculture and their better integration to global value chains.

No matter our efforts are not acknowledged. Just get the job done and we will sing the praises.

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