benchmarks


This really should not be a mystery. In most countries in the region, the information is available for all to see on either the regulator’s website or on operators’ websites. Domestic leased lines are a key input, important both in terms of interconnection and in terms of providing Internet. There is no reason to keep the prices secret. But they are not publicly available in Sri Lanka.
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.
I wish the question mark was not necessary, but the record so far does not allow me exclude it. We started this process in the weeks before the 2008 SAARC Summit. When the issue was mentioned in the SAARC Chair’s speech and included in the Declaration, we were, naturally, pleased. I recall telling a journalist that at most it would take a few months to get this implemented. We raised the issue with the then Chair of the South Asian Telecom Regulator’s Council, Mr Nripendra Misra of India.