Broadband connectivity vital for businesses

Posted on September 4, 2007  /  0 Comments

The Daily News, 3 September 2007 | See Print version
Sri Lanka needs to focus special attention on broadband connectivity as it is becoming more important for the development of businesses in the country.

Speaking to the Daily News Business, Executive Director of Lirneasia Prof Rohan Samarajiva said there should be more serious policy and regulatory attention for broadband infrastructure in the country. In Sri Lanka broadband connectivity is now becoming necessary for businesses to function and for day-to- day life.

The most cost-effective broadband technology for ordinary people and small businesses is ADSL. Unfortunately ADSL is monopolised in the country.

This is a copper based technology and if authority is given only for one service provider to use copper it will automatically create a monopoly in providing ADSL service for that service provider, he said.

“Only one service provider in the industry is permitted to lay copper while others are not permitted to do so. This should be stopped and a level playing field created for the industry to improve competitiveness in the sector,” he said.

There is a wireless alternative too and it is important give all the players in the industry the option of using wireless broadband. If all the players were supplying the same services they will have the keenness to increase the quality of the broadband services to be competitive in the industry.

However, the quality of the broadband service in Colombo has now deteriorated.

The only solution for increasing the quality of the service is to provide a level playing field and raise quality through competitiveness. Local call charges have come down due to such competitiveness in the industry he said.

Talking about the connectivity charges in the country Samarajiva said that broadband residential connectivity charges were not too expensive compared with other countries in the region.

But when it comes to leased lines (DPLC) used by large businesses, the local charges are much higher than those of other countries in the region which could badly impact on attracting investments in IT related services to the country.

Recent research on the local BPO industry reveals that most of the BPOs are unhappy with the quality of their leased lines. “A Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the service provider is the solution to maintain the quality of this service. But there is no SLA culture in Sri Lanka,” he said.

The telecommunications watchdog also needs to focus on the undersea cables and on the ways all players in the industry could access them to increase the quality. “Only two companies in the county have access to these cables,” he pointed out.

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