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Broadband course alumnus writes on Google X’s Loon in Sri Lanka

Informed writing on highly technical subjects is not easy to do. That is one reason we encourage journalists to participate in our courses. Here is a piece on the Loon trials in Sri Lanka by one who attended the Ford Foundation supported broadband policy and regulation course in Marawila in 2015. Appears his time was well spent, as were our resources.

Sri Lanka has signed the APT spectrum plan which means the government is committed to migrate our existing television stations to a digital platform. Once that is done, all terrestrial broadcasting can switch over to digital frequencies, thus releasing the 700MHz spectrum to be used for mobile data transmission. This is a vastly costly affair for the TV and Radio broadcasters as they would have to overhaul their entire infrastructure. Viewers and listeners too would need digital receivers. This raises a potential challenge not for us colombo dwellers, but rather those in rural areas. Incidentally, those in rural areas are the largest market for TV and radio broadcasters.

This begs another question. Who is responsible for the digitization process to move these terrestrial broadcasting channels to the digital era? Is it the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure? Is it the TRCSL? Is it ICTA? Have they taken any steps to see this plan through? If so, what are they? If not, then why not?

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