A public-private partnership involving Sri Lanka Railways and the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) will embark on a project to extend high speed fibre-optic backbone infrastructure to all corners of the island, reports Lanka Business Online quoting an official of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC). Dharmasiri de Alwis said that the programme would be backed by Sri Lanka’s ICT Agency and added that a USD15 million funding package from the World Bank is also in the offing under the rural internet access initiative known as e-Sri Lanka. De Alwis also said that the high tension transmission network of the CEB would allow fibre-optic cables to be drawn deep into rural areas at minimal cost, whilst the state-run railway network stretching to far corners of the island has wide reservations of empty land on either side allowing cables to be easily buried. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, by mid-2008 incumbent PSTN operator Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) had rolled out a 1,500km fibre-optic network interconnecting each of the country’s 25 provinces, which it is in the process of expanding as part of an ongoing migration to an IP-based next generation network (NGN).
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