Business Times

Chinese telecom firm gets Rs 3-bln i-Sri Lanka project

Top Chinese telecom company has secured the contract for Sri Lanka’s much awaited 3 billion-rupee i-Sri Lanka project aimed at enhancing the fiber optic network in the island. Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) awarded the tender to Zhong Xing Telecommunication Equipment Company Limited (ZTE), China's largest listed telecommunications manufacturer and wireless solutions provider, without following proper technical evaluation procedures, SLT trade unions alleged.

A spokesman for the SLT joint trade union front told the Business Times, that the deal was finalized at a hurriedly arranged meeting attended by SLT CEO Greg Young, representatives of ZTE Company Ltd and some officials of technical evaluation committee. The meeting was held on the sidelines of a workshop conducted for Chief operating officers, he revealed. He pointed out that no proper tender procedure has been followed. Mr Young was not available for comment, as he is away from the island.

The i-Sri Lanka project was launched recently to enhance, upgrade and expand the fiber network, bringing it closer to customers through fiber node. This has reduced the length of the copper connections with a resultant significant increase in reliability, quality and broadband data speeds together with several other benefits such as low maintenance costs, a senior SLT official said. Through this program the SLT plans to enhance the network bringing high speed broadband connectivity at greater than 20Mbps speed for almost all its fixed customers over a 3-year period.

This program is fully integrated with SLT’S Next Generation Network (NGN )modernization and broadband access targets for 2011 and forms a significant part of the company’s increased capital expenditure in 2011 and following years. In addition, this expansion will bring PeoTV IP based multi channel TV network to all SLT fixed line customers for the first time.

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