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Wednesday, 2 June 2010

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TRCSL to increase ADSL lines to 3 m

The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) is planning to increase the country’s total ADSL lines to 3 million within the next five years. There are 300,000 ADSL lines in the country and it needs to be increased upto 3 million in next five years. For this relevant agencies need to work together to enable countrywide coverage which will benefit internet users, TRCSL, Director General Anusha Palpita told Daily News Business.

Director General
Anusha Palpita

The call rates in Sri Lanka are affordable. However, the broadband cost is high. The TRC is in the process of taking measures to reduce this cost.

It would introduce a backbone project which may help to reduce the cost of broadband services.

A broadband consultative committee has been set up to study to introduce a broadband policy to Sri Lanka. The telecommunication industry is looking at an annual investment of US$ 40 to 50 billion. The industry needs to be protected to ensure a better infrastructure facility which strongly links with the country’s development.

There are nine operators in the industry and there is unhealthy competition among industry players and they are involved in a price war.

Considering this the TRCSL in mid 2009 decided floor rates for the industry.

However, the industry recorded a loss of Rs 15 billion last year. When we consider the performances of operators in the first quarter of 2010, it is evident that the industry is recovering. The loss making pattern should be reversed if the industry is to grow by one percent of the GDP.

The regulators are concerned of the revenue loss on illegal international bypass traffic which may account for 30 to 50 percent of the IDD calls originating from abroad.

“We are losing tax revenue and foreign exchange. This is a complicated matter that needs to be addressed to stop or minimize the misuse,” Pelpita said.

TRCSL is taking several measures in this regard.

TRCSL is in the process of studying the possibility of introducing the mobile number portability facility.The introduction of the mobile number portability facility is in the consultative process and this will benefit customers.

The 172 metre high Kokavil tower set up with an investment of Rs 250 million is one of the tallest towers in South Asia. It provides coverage for TV and radio apart from telecommunication purposes. Plans are underway to recover the cost within ten years. This common tower concept will be introduced to other parts of Sri Lanka on a trial basis.

The Sri Lankan telecommunication industry with nine operators has an adequate number of players. Its rates are reasonable compared to the other industries in the region.

 

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