Appeals to President, TRC from Lanka Internet
Lanka Internet Services Ltd (LISL), the now defunct Internet and telecommunications service provider which has come under fire from its clients, met President Mahinda Rajapaksa earlier this week to appeal for help. According to the Chairman of LISL Upali Keppetipola and former Executive Director and principal shareholder Senaka De Silva, the President has said he will do what he can.
LISL is also alleging that lack of support from Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) was the reason for its financial woes that has put the company in its current precarious position. LISL which has been embroiled in financial problems and shut down services at the end of February 2007 has been in discussions with the TRC and appealed to TRC Chairman and Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunga. In a letter to Weeratunga, De Silva says that 'as a result of many unfortunate events, the LISL is suffering serious consequences today which even threaten the closure of the company.'
He said LISL entered into an agreement with then TRC Chairman / Secretary to the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications for 'the provision of data services, rural telecommunications services, public payphone services and services to rural post offices all with the utilization of VSAT back-bone network technology, WiMax and CDMA technology for last mile connectivity.' The letter states that subsequent to an announcement made to the general public at a press conference organized by the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications introducing LISL as the eighth Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) operator of Sri Lanka, LankaBell and Suntel, two telecommunications service providers were also announced as CDMA operators.
LISL says that as part their agreement with the TRC, they brought in and entered into preliminary memorandums of understanding with foreign telecom operators 'such as British Telecom and TeleNor, funding agencies such as LR Group and McCon Capital, equipment suppliers such as Alvarion, Huwaveii, Alcatel & ZTE as well as operators of payphones and value added services such as the Function Group to contribute and invest in the Sri Lankan telecom industry.' However, De Silva says neither 'the Ministry nor the TRC kept up any of their obligations.'
In October 2006, the company ran into financial debt and needed investment which prompted LISL to enter into an agreement with MGM Networks (Private) Limited, the company which owns MaxTV and MaxRadio. De Silva says MGM 'didn't have the infrastructure' to support LISL and the agreement was not fulfilled.