Indian Broadband Policy and Regulatory Resources

SRI LANKA

Telecommunication Regulatory Environment Results for Sri LankaGraph05-sri-lanka
As seen in the figure above, tariff regulation is the best performing dimension across sub‐sectors for 2010/11. The regulation of anti‐competitive practices has scored the lowest for both fixed and mobile sectors. The high score in the broadband sub‐sector for the same dimension is puzzling given that they face the same constrains as that of the fixed and mobile sub‐sectors.Further, the broadband sub‐sector has scored relatively the highest in all dimensions when considering sub‐sector performance among dimensions.A further contradiction is the low score on QoS for broadband, considering that measures were taken to conduct broadband speed tests in the latter part of 2010. However, this result may have been caused by the fact that tests conducted from a handful of locations is not adequately representative of broadband speeds island wide. It is also possible for operators to manipulate broadband speeds in testing locations. The complete TRE report for Sri Lanka 2010/2011 can be accessed here

Graph06-sri-lanka

Graph07-sri-lankaThis article gives an overview of the Broadband situation in Sri Lanka.

  • Interconnection

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The key elements in the TRE questionnaire on interconnection include the following: interconnection with a major operator should be ensured at any technically feasible point in the network; quality of interconnection comparable to similar services offered by own network; and reasonable rates, unbundling and timely interconnection. All three sub‐sectors in this dimension have performed below the average performance level of 3.0.

A comparison of scores for the years 2006, 2008 and 2010/11 for interconnection indicates that scores for the fixed and mobile sectors remain relatively unchanged while broadband score has slightly increased. However, considering that a new regime of interconnection charges has been implemented for the mobile sector in 2010/11, having had no such regulations in place in previous years, one would expect scores to reflect an improvement in the perception of stakeholders towards interconnection in the mobile sector.

  • Market Entry

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A drop in scores for market entry in the mobile sub‐sector compared to the last 2007-2008 survey can be clearly identified. The general lack of transparency in granting operator licenses and the lack of a unified license system may have caused this. Further, some of the stakeholders commented on the lack of rigid provisions to govern market entry and exit by investors, stating that ad hoc entry and exit by foreign investors in the mobile market may threaten the long term sustainability of the sector; this comment was made especially with reference to investors pulling out of Tigo (now Etisalat). While this attitude may explain the declining trend in TRE scores for market entry, the fact remains that this is common to all FDI attracting sectors. It should also be pointed out that local investments would not have been sufficient to meet the capital requirements of Sri Lanka’s telecom sector.

  • Quality of Service

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The fixed and mobile sub‐sector scores indicate relatively good performance, with the broadband sector lagging behind. The first broadband speed test was carried out in December 2010 which revealed the operators to be delivering far below advertised speeds. TRC announced that there was a significant improvement of download speeds after tests conducted in December 2010. The TRC continues to monitor download speeds for broadband. These improvements are not reflected in the results of the survey. This may be due to the limitations of the testing procedure.

More details about LIRNEasia’s broadband QoS results can be accessed here

  • Scarce Resources

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Access to Scarce Resources defined in terms of spectrum allocation and rights of way, has relatively low and stagnant scores across all three sub‐sectors (fixed, mobile and broadband). This is an indication of the heightened concern among operators regarding the allocation of resources. The lack of provisions for network sharing and access to backbone has contributed to this poor perception among stake holders.

  • Tariff Regulation

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In the course of interviews, operators reported that mobile broadband prices dropped in January 2011 by 95 per cent from LKR 20 per Megabyte to LKR 1. The improvement in broadband performance from 2008 to 2010/11 may be a reflection of this. Interviews conducted with the stakeholders indicate that although not strictly within the specified time limit of the survey, this had impacted stakeholder perception at the time of survey.

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