Tuesday 4th June, 2013, Colombo - Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), the national telecommunication service provider was awarded with the license as the National Backbone Network (NBN) Service Provider in Sri Lanka. Under this new license, SLT will function as the NBN operator, delivering NBN services via the company’s advanced fibre optic based nation-wide communication backbone. The license was formally presented to Mr. Lalith De Silva, Group CEO of Sri Lanka Telecom by Mr. Anusha Palpita, Director General, Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), at a formal ceremony held recently at TRCSL.
The Government’s vision to reach a USD 4,000 per capita income by 2016 and USD 100 billion GDP economy is a vision shared by SLT as well. The company is fully committed to achieving the ultimate objective of NBN in facilitating broadband connectivity across the entire country. In line with country’s ICT development plans, SLT plans to cover all the 329 Divisional Secretariats and 24 districts in the country with high speed broadband connectivity over the NBN, within the next five years.
With SLT having embarked on massive network modernization and expansion projects, the company’s fibre rollout is comprehensive, with its fibre optic transmission network now covering most parts of the island, including rural areas and the North and the East; thus enabling the Government of Sri Lanka to choose SLT as the preferred NBN partner in the light of achieving its goals for economic development, with broadband penetration being a key element in its strategy towards such development. The Government’s initiative establishes a fundamental enabler for achieving its objective of a digital economy for Sri Lanka, through which internet/broadband penetration can be expedited into all corners of the country, thus empowering the masses with a wealth of information, education and entertainment at their fingertips and completely revolutionizing the way people work, study, communicate, relax and play.
NBN will allow all the telecommunication service providers to use it to transmit their data traffic for the delivery of broadband services to consumers and businesses located throughout the country, expediting the bridging of the country’s digital divide.
Mr. Palpita commenting on the issuance of the NBN license to SLT stated, “We have worked closely with SLT for the implementation of the NBN in order to fulfil the national objective of facilitating high speed broadband over the NBN. We are delighted with the progress of the entire project.” Speaking further, Mr. Palpita said, “Many initiatives have already been taken by SLT to strengthen the implementation of the NBN while working more closely with the TRCSL and the industry.”
Mr. Lalith De Silva, Group CEO of SLT said, “We stand proud to receive the NBN license to serve the country towards achieving its goals. Sri Lanka is now positioned on a platform of fast track development and ICT has emerged as a key driver of development and economic growth. SLT’s network is ready with the necessary flexibility, capacity and capability to respond to the demands of customers, including supporting the additional demands of other telecommunication service providers in line with the government’s vision. Our comprehensive fibre rollout provides the basis for the NBN to provide coverage, capacity and capability that allows for the increased demand.” He further added, “Our NBN coverage is already substantial and the capacity is engineered to be highly scalable, supported by state-of-the-art technology while providing essential quality features such as resilience and restoration. Through the NBN, SLT will not only aim to bridge the digital divide, but will also fast track its ICT development goals, taking the industry towards achieving its vision of making Sri Lanka the ‘Wonder of Asia’.”
Furthermore, other service providers in the industry are provided with the option to obtain backbone services at attractive prices, which, along with the elimination of high investment costs in their own network developments, gives added benefits to the operators, customers as well as the entire economy by the overall reduction of space, money and other resources otherwise wasted on the replication of networks across the country.
NBN will ensure that everyone is better connected with fast and uninterrupted access to online applications such as e-learning, e-commerce and e-health platforms which will also help to enhance lifestyles and uplift the educational standards of Sri Lankans throughout the country, bringing online capabilities to a level previously not available in Sri Lanka. It will ensure Customer Satisfaction (Speed + Quality + Reliability), Telephony, High Speed Internet Access, Private Business Networking, Interactive Entertainment, Smart Grid, Distance Learning etc., bridge the digital divide, backhaul capacity for wholesale, high speed broadband access at affordable and competitive prices and world class access for broadband services. Therefore the increase in broadband penetration will have a direct impact on economic growth in the country as have been highlighted by many global research outcomes.
In terms of social impact, it will result in increased literacy rates, the creation of more job opportunities and the introduction of innovations that will uplift living standards and bring about changed lifestyles through social developments. Through ICT growth, the country will be empowered to become a key geographic position in the region for research and development through cutting edge technology and industry innovations.