Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror newspaper quotes the Minister of Telecommunication, Foreign Employment and Sports, Harin Fernando, as saying that the collapse of an innovative broadband project in the country – Google Loon – ultimately resulted from the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL’s) failure to provide the required spectrum for the project. Speaking at a forum organised by Institute of Policy Strides in Colombo last week, Fernando said: ‘We wanted to do a pilot for Google Loon project, and they did the pilot. It was successful. However, the TRCSL didn’t give them the licence or the required spectrum.’ He claimed that if the project had been able to continue, ‘Sri Lanka would have attracted the attention of the world while getting island wide 4G coverage’. He reportedly identified a lack of technical knowhow and understanding among older policymakers as a bar to making future progress in Sri Lanka’s digitisation initiatives noting: ‘When you talk about technology, it’s only the younger generation which understand it, but the older generation think it’s something strange and wrong and it is going to corrupt everything. That’s the mindset that we want to change.’
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