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Sri Lanka among top 50 high-speed broadband users
Making further strides in the fixed broadband and Internet sphere, Sri Lanka has been ranked among the top 50 countries for having broadband speeds above 4Mbps for 77 percent of the country’s broadband subscribers, according to the world’s leading Content Delivery Network (CDN) and cloud services provider.
According to the United States-based Akamai Technologies, Inc. (Akamai), Sri Lanka has been ranked at 47 among the countries with highest 4Mbps broadband adoption rates by the end of June 30, 2015 (2Q15), and Sri Lanka’s ranking has made a quantum leap of 223 percent from a year ago.
In effect, Sri Lanka has outperformed some of the technologically-advanced countries such as Australia (50), Malaysia (72), China (87) and India (99) to secure a prominent spot in the global map for broadband, Akamai showed releasing its ‘State of the Internet report’ for 2Q15.
“We could accomplish this within a very short span of time due to our unique strategy and twin objectives of continuously making broadband affordable while consistently increasing the quality of service (QoS) before taking the services to rural areas,” the head of the national broadband initiative Sanath Siriwardena said.
In 2012, Sri Lanka was ranked world’s number one for the lowest fixed broadband charges by the International Telecommunication Union.
South Korea tops the list with 96 percent 4Mbps broadband adoption rate followed by Thailand (95 percent) and Hong Kong (93 percent), while Indonesia and China fell 9 percent and 28 percent, respectively in the Asia Pacific region.
Besides, Sri Lanka is also ranked at 65 out of 144 countries, based on the average connection speeds as the speed has increased by 50 percent in a span of a year. Akamai measures Sri Lanka’s average broadband speed at 5.3 Mbps.
The push for QoS in broadband first began in 2010 and concurrently the telecommunication industry regulator, Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) continuously fostered competition among the operators with the objective of providing better service to the subscribers.
The initiative has now become a global benchmark and some countries are now seen adopting the Sri Lankan model in their countries.
While commending the staff and the operators for the achievement, TRC Director General M.M. Zuhair, PC said the regulator would continue the drive for further higher broadband speeds, while making the service affordable to make broadband as a means of bringing social and economic inclusion.
Meanwhile, the national broadband initiative was also established in 2013 under the regulator, with the objective of driving for higher broadband speeds as a catalyst for rapid socio-economic development.
“This is because the speed factor is the driving force behind broadband as higher speed leads to innovation and business start-ups which will bring benefits to a wider spectrum of society,” Siriwardena remarked.
The operators used to charge the subscribers for the “bandwidth” (speed) but the pricing was later changed by the regulator to charge for the “capacity”, so that everyone could enjoy higher speeds irrespective of one’s purchasing power.
The global recognition for the significant strides made in Sri Lanka’s broadband sphere within a short span could not have been possible, had the operators not had the foresight to continuously invest on the technology.
“Therefore, I believe all our operators must be incentivized for the sustainability of the industry,” stressed Siriwardena, while appreciating the continuous commitment shown by the operators.
Sri Lanka’s mobile telephony industry has been undergoing a rapid shift from the voice to data. The industry margins are thinning as low margin data has been eating into high margin voice business. This has led to higher payback periods of the investments at a time when the new technologies become obsolete in very short spans.