SLT emphasises on sharing ICT infrastructure in State drive towards SMART Sri Lanka
Monday, 16 June 2014 00:00
Move will bring down operator costs, improve efficiency and productivity
Increase consumer affordability
Minimise foreign exchange outflows
Future focused gigantic global connectivity – high capacity national fibre optic backbone network – high speed next generation accesstechnologies in place
Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), the flagship national ICT solutions provider and the national backbone network operator, has emphasised that Sri Lanka is marching towards achieving the country’s ICT objectives, to accelerate economic development targeting the global model which projects that a 10% increase in broadband penetration will lead to 1.38% increase in GDP.
A strong, reliable and islandwide ICT broadband infrastructure and global connectivity are key to the efficient functioning and development of the telecommunication industry, businesses and the economy. The company says the overall investment the group has made throughout its entire 150 year span is enormous in terms of magnitude. Since 2007, SLT has invested in excess of Rs. 57 billion/ USD 485 million to improve the country’s telecommunication infrastructure.
Benefits through economies of scale
SLT Group CEO Lalith de Silva, expressing his views on these industry developments, said: “In line with the GoSL roadmap, we have invested heavily in establishing the NBN with the view of encouraging all operators to benefit through economies of scale. We truly believe in sharing communication and ICT infrastructure towards achieving the development goals of the country. In fact the very tenets of our corporate strategy are underpinned by the vision of a SMART Sri Lanka and a digital economy that is being driven by the State.
“Thus from the inception, we have been sharing our infrastructure such as global connectivity, national backbone, towers, data centre, cloud services, coverage and building spaces as well as our ICT infrastructure under the wholesale business unit for other operators and service providers, ISPs, etc. whilst ensuring that the highest standards are met in terms of quality and reliability. Also we are proud that leading public institutions and private sector businesses that include large enterprises, SMEs and micro businesses around the country are utilising our shared ICT resources to maximise their potential.”
Ensuring economic empowerment
De Silva added: “SLT has placed its top emphasis on ICT infrastructure to ensure economic empowerment through the National Backbone Network and Connected-Government ‘Lanka Government Network’ with the integration of all e-Applications. We are geared to provide any type of ICT backbone solution or broadband services to any of the operators in the telecommunication industry as well as other organisations around the country to strengthen the economy.
“We strongly believe the country’s national broadband plans are a key policy instrument to leverage and realise the full potential of broadband as an enabling infrastructure to accelerate sustainable development and optimise on the giant investments already made. Rapid increase of broadband penetration and helping secure high foreign exchange earnings by building investor confidence and minimising foreign exchange outflows from the country by sharing our existing resources and infrastructure are at the heart of our major initiatives. Also we are fully supportive to the regulator to implement QoS based cost structure and infrastructure sharing including frequencies for better utilisation.
“Our firm view is that frequency utilisation, being in itself a scarce resource, needs to be done purely with the public interest in mind. It is also in the public interest that we have always offered services at prices which are within reach of the average consumer and is something we have upheld all along. We are truly appreciative of the favourable regulatory environment to be seen which has enabled the realisation of rapid industry growth very much in line with the vision of the State.”
Global connectivity in Sri Lanka
Global connectivity in Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka today has connectivity to any global destination for access any global content. The company has already taken proactive steps to invest in a futuristic global connectivity option exceeding 24 Tera bits per second (24Tbps) bandwidth capability via the new cable system SEA ME WE 5, upgrading of the existing SEA ME WE 4 cable system with 100G technologies and expanding the terrestrial backbone network (National Fibre Optic Backbone Network) to bring gigantic capacity to users in Sri Lanka accessible for future focused data demands.
SLT has partnered the SEA ME WE consortiums right from the inception and currently connects globally via SEA ME WE 3, SEA ME WE 4 and two other private cables to India and Maldives. The SEA ME WE 5 cable system which is scheduled to commence operations by early 2016 is designed to provide upgradeable transmission facilities by adopting the latest state-of-the-art 100 Gbps technology. The SEA ME WE 5 cable system would be able to carry 24,000 Giga bits per second (24 Tera bits per second); the equivalent of transmitting around 4800 high definition movies every second.
SEA ME WE 5 has the capability to handle traffic from the cable starting point to its end from Singapore to France with lightning speeds of less than 90 milliseconds which in fact is the fastest speed achieved interconnecting Asia Pacific to Europe. As Sri Lanka has been offered the “full landing” or “double landing” status by the SEA ME WE 5 consortium, this will pave the way to establish a Global POP in Sri Lanka in the future. Furthermore, the SEA ME WE 5 cable station that is being established in Matara facilitates double landing, thereby enhancing the reliability of Sri Lanka’s connectivity to the system.
National Backbone Network (NBN)
National Backbone Network (NBN) – GoSL has trusted SLT to build the NBN to accelerate the journey towards creating a SMART Sri Lanka and the company was awarded the license to be the National Backbone Network (NBN) Service Provider in Sri Lanka in the year 2013. Following the conditions of the license agreement SLT has embarked on massive network modernisation and expansion projects.
The company’s fibre optic 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, enabling the Government of Sri Lanka to appoint SLT as the NBN service provider for the entire country. NBN supports sustainable national progress connecting all 329 Divisional Secretariats to strengthen connected government activities. 100% fibre optic coverage of electorates was achieved well within the NBN target date requirement and fibre optic network exceeds the NBN requirement of at least one point of interconnection per electorate.
NBN facilitates high speed and uninterrupted backbone connectivity with highest redundancy across the country for all operators. In the light of achieving the government’s goals for economic development, broadband penetration is a key element in its strategy towards such development.
Broadband access technologies
Broadband access technologies – One of the key strategic objectives of the SLT Group is to drive broadband based consumer and enterprise services by expanding the broadband footprint via Next Generation Network and National Backbone Network and Next Generation Access via ADSL2+, VDSL2, Optical Fibre, Carrier-grade WiFi and both fixed and mobile 4G LTE technologies. SLT continues to roll out VDSL2, ADSL2+, fixed 4G/LTE and FTTH services to enhance customers’ experience while ensuring that investments are future focused.
World class ICT infrastructure (core technologies: NBN, NGN and access technologies: ADSL2, VDSL2+, 4G LTE and WiFi) and solutions would also have a positive impact on enhancing economic productivity, while facilitating sustainable economic growth. As the national telecommunications service provider, SLT is actively engaged in enabling to boost the country’s potential by increasing ICT availability and affordability through a range of broadband offers and cloud services.
To facilitate the improvement of broadband penetration and to enhance user experience, SLT introduced data volume enhancements of up to 100% and peak data volume enhancements up to 70% at no extra cost in the beginning of the year 2014 and also further expanded its broadband portfolio, enabling customers to choose the ideal package that suits their specific needs and budgets.