By Chandeepa Wettasinghe
Telecommunications companies in Sri Lanka are installing highly efficient optical fibre cables for end-users without legal permission, national telecommunications services provider Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT) said.
“Drawing fibre in the last mile by telco service providers without legal rights is a threat to SLT’s wholesale and retail businesses,” SLT said in its 2015 Annual Report.
The last mile refers to the final connection from larger telecommunications infrastructure to the end-users in homes and businesses.
SLT said that it has raised the concerns with the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) and lodged a complaint against the violations.
Due to being a majority state-controlled corporation until the latter part of the last decade, SLT had held the sole license for last mile optical fibre drawings. It remains to be seen whether TRCSL will take action on the infringement, or open up licenses for other operators, as SLT opened up the door for its competitors.
“About 25 percent of the country is covered by legacy SLT copper fixed lines. The balance 75 percent yet to be covered is open to SLT and all other operators to provide broadband services,” SLT said.
Meanwhile, the company said that its competitors are also setting up large optical fibre infrastructure across the country, overlapping the National Backbone Network (NBN).
It said that this is a duplication of infrastructure, which lowers returns on investments for SLT, and is attempting to persuade the competitors to utilize the NBN.
However, the recent entrant Rama Corporation, in which, the Sri Lankan government and all telcos also having interests, is aspiring to make fixed connections irrelevant for the public.
Rama’s Google Loon project which is aiming at providing mobile broadband coverage for the entire country through balloons floating in the upper atmosphere in Phase 1, is going to construct microchips which can be installed in homes under Phase 2.