Broadband: Customers in Colombo and Chennai get more or less the same speeds, but the promises vary widely

Posted on November 16, 2008  /  5 Comments

The download speeds that customers get in Chennai, Colombo and Dhaka are not very different, if you carefully examine the results of the October 2009 results of broadband QOSe using the Ashokatissa methodology jointly developed by IIT Madras and LIRNEasia. What differs is the level of truth in advertising. In Sri Lanka, everybody is lying. In India, they are closer to the truth.

The difference is regulation. In India, the regulator is proactive on this issue; in Sri Lanka, the regulator only worries about things like porn and imaginary towers. We cannot mandate truth in advertising; only engage in friendly moral suasion. In other words, we will try to shame the operators into calling their products by the right names: 512 Kbps instead of 2Mbps would be a start?


  1. The annual cost for 2Mbps (E1) for 2km DPLC in Bangladesh was about $100 and now after regulation Maximum price is $88 not $14,344. That is one ridiculous high number. (As of Nov 9, 2008)

  2. In response to Mr. Amar’s comment above the rates quoted in the Broadband Benchmarks document was found on the Bangladesh Telecommunication Company Limited website (

    The rate was an addition of the yearly port rental and the yearly local loop charges.

    The Broadband Benchmarks document reports prices as of October 2008. The document cited by the BTRC above states that the new rates come into effect only in December 2008. If these rates remain the same we will report them in the document published in February 2009.

  3. A lot of operators around the world use the term ‘up to’ in order to sell a seemingly superior bandwidth product, with no mention of contention rates, location w.r.t the local exchange, interference etc.

    Does anyone here have a view on what the typical upstream bandwidth is, and if they find this restrictive to their user experience?

    I’m all for naming and shaming (quicker than trying to do anything through the courts)! Lets start with the TRC-SL. They don’t even understand the need for lifeline/emergency telephone service, leave alone converged platforms.

    Any chance the major operators in SL could form a consortium of their own to regulate themselves? or is that just wishful thinking in the cut-throat business world?

  4. Hi Amar,

    Thanks for pointing this out. We apologise for the mistake and stand corrected. I think we have mistakenly considered the international leased line prices.

    However, we cannot take the Dec prices as the rest of set is taken in Oct 2008. Could not find any that refers to Oct prices so kept it as not available. Will be grateful if you can provide a link that leads to Oct prices.

    Revised indicators are uploaded.

  5. @Chanuka Wattegama

    Yes, I think international Leased priced were used. This is the first time the Telecom regulator set a DPLC price guideline so, I don’t have the October prices. But I am assuming the price (in Oct) cant be too far from the Dec prices. Also just a suggestion, Its best to checkout the BTRC’s ( released prices as they are the most updated. BTCL’s (formally BTTB) prices are usually not updated few weeks after the new pricing guidelines takes effect.