In Sri Lanka we regularly speak about building new highways, in modern IT world the highway is the internet with high speed, more data and lower cost. If you don’t have above three points in your country internet service it would be another “Baseline road” or “High Level road” you all know these two roads in normal hours it’s a smooth ride but not necessary faster but during the school hours and evening office hours it nothing but a typical south Asian road mess with snail paced movement.
But if you compare the Colombo – Katunayake expressway or the southern expressway they don’t have any traffic at any time you can drive at higher speed and reach your destination with a short time period, but you need to pay a price also you need to have vehicle with four wheels no three wheelers or bikes allowed, also its only available in limited areas not island wide. This is also similar to Sri Lanka’s internet situation. Its high cost, slow speed, the high speed more data is available to a few.
The current government came to power promising low cost Internet to everyone. But despite 2.5 years passed it’s evident that it’s also one of the many fake promises given by the crooked politicians in order win elections and loot the country.
Sri Lankas Internet service is pathetic due to four reasons.
1. Very low data given by the service provider – “Data is like fuel in internet ,with limited fuel the amount you can go in internet is limited, this puts Sri Lanka way being other countries in competitiveness”
2. Internet Cost is very high -”Both mobile and landline”
3. Slower speed – “It’s like when other countries use modern fuel efficient cars we are still using old, outdated, inefficient gas guzzling Morris Minors and Humber cars”
4. Heavy taxation on the phone bill – “This heavily discourages landline Broadband and Fiber”
Sri Lankans are heavily reliant on mobile Internet using their dongles .Most people are unable to afford “Broadband/Fiber” especially people living outside Colombo, they are heavily reliant on mobile based internet using dongles
The fixed line internet usage is very low in Sri Lanka as opposed to the developed country.
So if any one is talking to implement expanding internet should give priority to the mobile Internet because this is the easiest and the fastest way to spread Internet across Sri Lanka also by anyway I’m not suggesting to ignore the landline based internet “Broadband/Fiber” massive investments should also be made for landline based internet across the country
Sri Lankan mobile internet providers still provide MB level of data, which they should be shameful of doing it. Only thing they are proud is showing their big profit amount
Our neighboring India’s mobile Internet providers provide data packages from 10GB to unlimited data in very affordable prices as opposed Sri Lanka’s service providers exorbitant prices charged for Gigabytes data packages.
Especially if you are using internet for education purposes you can learn a lot from YouTube documentaries which have been uploaded, with little data you can watch these.
Modern education heavily focuses on audio and visual. It’s no longer focused on text books and black boards, text books are used in studying b the student after the class room, sometimes students are given the task to watch specific videos on you tube and write a review. This is more effective than reading thick book.
“A picture speaks thousand words, a video speaks million words”
How Are We Going To Solve It ?
The best way to address this situation is emulating what “Reliance Jio” did in India.
Indian Internet service used to be one of the worst in the world, especially mobile internet. In such a populace, large country with large undeveloped infrastructure, Reliance Jio changed the market by focusing on mobile internet dramatically by doing the following
1. Gave large data amounts up to unlimited data in affordable packages
2. Make sure that entire network is 4G, which enabled them to give 4G Internet to everyone at higher speeds.
3. Also they reduced the price of data $10 per GB which is the standard practice across the world to $1 per GB, this is their critical success factor within three months after launching they reached more than 100 million subscribers and became the second largest mobile telecom provider in India.
“Because of Reliance Jio other Mobile Telecom providers are also forced give generous data packages at lower cost “
“By the way Reliance Jio is planning for 5G launch soon. They will phase out 4G systems gradually in coming years”
Also its worth to remember current Indian government led by Narendra Modi is a keen believer in technology, his “Digital India” vision got worldwide attention, Facebook Mark Zuckeberg changed his profile to digital India filter.
So no doubt Indian government played a key role encouraging this venture, If a country wants to convert its economy into a digital based one They should start with the internet , because it’s the “information super highway” which connects every computer inside the country
In our country the current government politicians will start talking about this stuff when elections are getting near after that they forget it and will go on stealing, taking bribes.
We all know about free Wi – Fi promise during 2015 January 8 elections, also the Kurunegala Volkswagen blunder, Horana Tyre factory blunder and so on.
Also by no means I’m pro Indian, All I’m suggesting is to learn the good points so we can serve our fellow countrymen a best service compared to the trash being served right now.
Advice To Government /Regulators/Telecom Providers
I doubt the above people will take my advice, but any how I’m giving them.
1.Don’t auction mobile telecom spectrums like other countries; it creates an extremely unfair competitiveness to other players.
• Telecom companies with financial and political connections will get the spectrum easily and create a monopoly in the market by providing low service to customers. With higher prices. This will create a very negative scenario to the countries competitiveness.
• Sell the spectrum to a fixed affordable fee to all players such as $200, 000 and invest money in buying or upgrading equipment in monitoring the quality of the service provided by the telecom providers such as internet speed and data
2. From the government side reduce taxes to the consumer, Sri Lankas landline bill is heavily taxed. This discourages the land based internet .Land based internet is critical for businesses, a high internet cost means its reducing the profit.
3. From the government side Encourage mobile service providers to give for more data, and higher internet speed making it a part of the national IT strategy “if there any”. This will ease the burden from the government to provide internet. This is the single most bottleneck in Sri Lankan internet “Limited Data and Low Speed”
4. From government side have policy to put Sri Lanka in worlds top 10 fastest internet countries in the world in next 10 years, provide tax credits, abolish tax for equipment imports for the internet service providers who support this policy.
5. Encourage manufacturing of telecom equipment in Sri Lanka. This makes high paying jobs as well as more export income so we don’t have to be at mercy of EU for their GSP+ and heavily rely on Garments