ICT - World economic recession is in our favour
Television channels now regularly air news items related to economic
crises the world is facing these days. From giant chain super markets to
car manufactures in USA and central Europe, stores and production lines
are closed down leaving thousands unemployed.
It is needless to say how this crisis could affect our economy in
time to come. The major export business can be affected. If this
continues Sri Lankan work force presently employed in Middle Eastern
countries may face some hardships soon. Their contribution to the
country is enormous and unmatched. One could imagine the situation that
may arise if such a thing triggers in the future.
For certain this economic recession in the world would create some
degree of uncertainty in the country's tourism industry in the future.
However, evaluating the enormity of the impact of this on the
country's economy has to be done by the economic experts. The scope of
this article is to reveal how a modern technology based on IT can be
used to turn this situation to a profitable source of foreign income in
High standard communication environment essential to attract
Today the entire world has turned in to virtually a small place
because of the progressive development in data networks. The primary
source of interconnecting people living in different diversities would
always take place over the Internet.
The world socio-economic revolution created by the rail tracks during
the past century is about to be recreated by the Internet, which works
on the data network platform. In this context data networks based on
high speed broadband Internet would be capable of playing a huge role in
the economic development in the country. Unfortunately the place that
should be occupied by data networks was never secured and its
significance has also never been evaluated. This situation has prevented
the country from achieving its economic development in the past decade.
Undoubtedly we need to work on something which could increase our
foreign income. The business like BPO would be an idealistic choice in
all aspects. Comparatively our labour is cheap and high in quality. Our
nation has created a very strong image in the world platform for their
efficiency and quality in doing things. When the economic crisis
amplifies in the developed world, not only the software developing
industry but also other ventures and large companies would think of
shifting back their office work to places where labour is cheap.
For certain, there is a big opportunity available for the BPO
industry in Sri Lanka. But it is very important to develop the
infrastructure facilities by allowing investors to start their ventures
cost effectively in our soil. In this context IT and data networks and
their quality and availability is an essential commodity for an industry
to grow. Modern and latest cutting edge technology must be brought in to
overcome some of the challenges we may face in the communication
But not to forget the charges for DPLC (Domestic Private Leased
Circuit) and IPLC (International Private Leased Circuit) must be revised
to make them competitive in the region.
However it is more likely the authorities have misunderstood this
situation. It is not only the under-develop communication infrastructure
that delays the development. Malaises in data communication services are
also to be responsible and their impact have adversely affected on the
economic growth. As we have moved in to infrastructure development in
parallel we need to rectify the malaises in the communication sector in
the country. Both these actions have to be taken simultaneously.
However to make this happen some rules and regulations in the country
need to be revised. When there is no real threat to our national
security we must go and deploy them for the benefit of our people.
The fascinating thing is the data communication networks and their
technology is in a continuous evolution process. What is not available
tonight would be available by tomorrow morning. Therefore we should not
stick to traditional methods when we are in the business of modern
communication. Since we are heading for a rapid expansion in data
communication networks, we opt to take some revolutionary decisions in
the future. Like in other countries studies must be initiated to check
the possibility of freeing white space frequencies for the use of
wireless broadband transmissions. This process will compensate rarity in
wireless spectrum significantly.
When deploying technologies irrespective of their origin it has to be
done cost effectively. Similarly a fast deploying feature would be an
extra qualification. Deploying fiber would be alright since their costs
have been drastically reduced in the world. But that does not mean the
operator should incline to fiber-only mentality. Because laying fiber
consumes considerable time. A technology like wireless is fast to deploy
and could be a very smart and cost effective (Low CAPX and OPEX) choice
if we can sparingly manage our scarce resources in the wireless
However laying fiber optic cables can be expedited if we could use
the country's widespread canals and rivers where possible, in addition
to rail tracks and power transmission pylons. Need not to say that in
places where we need connectivity over land a branch can be taken out
from the main cable. New ideas and inventions can be used to overcome
technical difficulties if they arise. With this alternative method in
addition to time spared operators can also save millions of rupees by
cutting down their CAPX drastically if adopted.
Similarly in addition to fiber optic cables running through the
country's irrigation network another fiber optic cable can be laid
around the island to meet the growing demand in communication in rural
Sri Lanka. But unlike in the past, these networks have to be under the
authority of the government.
In this process government can directly invest in these projects. If
operators are to be involved it has to be a consortium. Giving monopoly
rights to operators especially in mass scale projects where national
assets are involved would do no good to the public at all. The best
example can be found in Sweden relating to their STOKAB fiber optic
project owned by the Stockholm city. This practice will ensure fair
access among competitors in the same business resulting rapid growth in
Communication resource sharing mechanism is desperately needed in Sri
Lanka. From International backbone segment to internal network segments
monopoly rights secured by certain parties have done severe damage to
our country's economy. Gigabit capacity optic fiber rings and microwave
links that could be used for the purpose of data transmission are left
in underutilised condition simply due to monopoly rights that they have
been given with. The mistake we have made in the past cannot be repeated
once again. Time has come to utilise the dark fiber in the country for
Investors will never come unless they have been provided with
infrastructure facilities that are required for smoother operations.
Even if they are compelled to shut down their business they would never
consider Sri Lanka as an alternative as long as we keep our
communication environment unchanged.
There is a good opportunity awaiting the country. As a nation we must
make our plans to get the best out of this global economic recession.
But the truth is as far as we keep this communication environment
unchanged the intended benefits would never fall in our favour.