While planning to double the capital expenditure for further enhancement of voice and data networks to next generation architecture, this year, Sri Lanka Telecom, (SLT) the nation’s leading communications service provider, will be introducing an ambitious 3-year project to cut down the copper cable network running up to 1.5 million loops and shortening it with optical fiber network.
Two kilometer length of copper cable each, which was laid from around 400 telephone base stations of SLT countrywide, will be shortened with optical fiber within three years under this initiative, Chief Executive Officer SLT Greg Young told the Business Times. SLT has made significant investments to the country by setting a platform to the National Communication infrastructure by looking at the future demand for the benefit of its customers, he added. A high-speed islandwide optical fiber telecommunications infrastructure is the main aim of SLT with its Central, Metro and Southern Ring, North - East Central Ring and East –Uva Central Ring already in service. The company’s optical fiber ring network has been designed to provide high transport capacity, which will have around 1500 km of optical fibers to interconnect all provinces in Sri Lanka, he revealed.
Copper cables are a lightning hazard, a frequent occurrence in Sri Lanka during rainy seasons and these cables also get damaged from lightning and various other means. Under this set up reducing the length of thecCopper cable has become a long felt need, Mr Young said. The country’s broadband customer base stands at around 320,000+ users including fixed wire line, fixed wireless and mobile broadband users, with SLT commanding a market share of around 85% of the total market. Over the past year SLT has been working hard to expand its national optical fiber backbone network to deliver the connectivity and capacity demanded by the ongoing explosive data and Internet growth and to support the expansion of its ADSL and mobile 3.5G broadband business, he revealed in an interview with the Business Times.
Mr Young said the significant recent capacity increases the company has made in its domestic and international network bandwidth have helped to deliver enhancements to broadband data speeds and quality of service to many of the customers. “As an example, on 1st January we upgraded automatically and at no extra charge the data speeds for all customers on the entrée ADSL package from 512kpbs to 1MBps, a 100% increase in speed for over 45% of our total fixed ADSL broadband customer base,” he said adding that” at the same time we increased the data volume and reduced data usage charges; all significant positive improvements for our broadband customers to boost their SLT broadband experience.
All our volume based broadband packages are free of bandwidth restriction or bandwidth control to deliver a high quality Internet experience”. “Whilst we continue to optimise our wire line network and selectively expand its reach, it can only serve around 25-30% of the Sri Lankan households,” he said explaining the need for the changes.