Sri Lanka Moves Closer to Starlink Satellite Internet Service with Telecommunications Bill Approval

A modern legislative meeting room with officials discussing the introduction of Starlink satellite internet service in Sri Lanka. The room features la

In a significant step towards introducing Starlink satellite internet service in Sri Lanka, the Committee on Public Finance has approved the Sri Lanka Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill, subject to amendments to ensure consumer benefits from advanced telecommunication technology.

This marks the first amendment to the current law in 28 years, aligning industry regulation with modern technological advancements.

State Minister Kanaka Herath stated that the bill, if enacted, will regulate satellite-based internet services in the country.

The Parliamentary Media Unit reported that approval was granted during a recent committee meeting chaired by Dr. Harsha de Silva, with the participation of MPs from both sides, officials from the Attorney General’s Department, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC), and other institutions.

The Speaker announced that the Supreme Court recommended certain sections of the Bill be amended. Officials confirmed that these recommendations will be incorporated to ensure the legislation aligns with global technological trends.

The bill was prepared after extensive discussions with stakeholders in the telecommunication sector, adhering to international standards. This legislation aims to foster a more competitive market, providing fair regulations for consumers.

Additionally, the bill introduces a competitive system for providing telecommunication frequencies. Parliament will compile relevant regulations, enabling the introduction and proper regulation of new technology in the telecommunications sector.

Three new types of licenses will be introduced alongside existing telecommunication and frequency licenses. These will include licenses for companies providing infrastructure in addition to telecommunication services. The amendments will also strengthen the powers of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.

The bill aims to reduce tariffs through market competition and ensures the security of undersea telecommunication cables.

Dr. Harsha de Silva emphasized the importance of updating Sri Lanka’s legislation to leverage advancements in telecommunication technology, viewing these amendments as a positive step forward.

The Committee on Public Finance is considering the bill to ensure public finance management, market competition, transparency, and consumer fairness.

State Ministers Anupa Pasqual, Dr. Suren Raghavan, and MPs Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Harshana Rajakaruna, Premnath C. Dolawatte, Sahan Pradeep Withana, Madhura Withanage attended the meeting, along with Additional Solicitor General Sumith Dharmawardene and TRC Director General Madhusanka Dissanayake.

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