Here is an issue that will feature large in India and even Bhutan, but not Sri Lanka. The reason is that the former countries have a sizable number of cable connections, which will in the future be used to provide broadband access in competition to phone companies.
Because of the profligacy of frequency-based broadcast licensing in Sri Lanka, there is no cable industry to speak of. What there is uses frequencies. That means it cannot easily be turned into a conduit for broadband.
What is different now is that the contest is a two-way slugfest between powerful and sophisticated companies with deep pockets and a lot more to lose. The start-ups that were born in the wake of regulatory changes have largely faded as a threat, particularly in the last year, as Bell companies bought their two biggest rivals, AT&T and MCI.
Now, the Bells’ chief competitors are Time Warner Cable, Comcast and other cable providers that have the technology, armies of installers and marketing budgets to lure away video and phone customers. By the end of the year, for instance, cable operators will have nearly nine million phone subscribers, up about 58 percent from 2005, said Craig Moffett, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein.