The presentation ceremony was attended by several VIPs including Ranjith Siyambalapitiya - Minister of Telecommunications and IT, Dullas Alahapperuma – Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development and Namal Rajapaksa – Member of Parliament. Representing SLT, Nimal Welgama – Chairman, . Jayantha Dharmadasa – Director, . Shameendra Rajapaksa – Director, Lalith De Silva - Group Chief Executive Officer as well as senior officials of SLT were also present at the occasion.
SLT will operate the cable depot in Sri Lanka as a joint venture with IOCPL (Indian Ocean Cableship Pvt Ltd) which is a ship service provider for SEAIOCMA (South East Asia & Indian Ocean Cable Maintenance Agreement. This opportunity was realized as a result of a free port policy declaration and tax concessions offered by the GOSL for MMRP operations at Hambantota.
SEAIOCMA is the international consortium for maintaining the undersea cables. Sri Lanka is an important destination where multiple cable systems are already in operation passing the country. Sri Lanka will be the only Submarine Cable Depot in the South Asian region. Prior to this initiative, Singapore was overlooking the Submarine Cable Depot to facilitate international cable systems. Through this operation in the South Asian region, SLT believes in the possibility of bringing in foreign currency to strengthen the country’s economy in the future.
Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port at Hambantota has been selected to set up a submarine cable depot by the cable consortium with the participation of a number of countries and Sri Lanka will facilitate the cable maintenance ship berth and warehouse facility. SLT has already commenced on the construction work of its Submarine Cable Depot in Hambantota and SEA-ME-WE 5 cable landing station in Matara.
SLT selected a location at Browns Hills, Matara to establish the full cable landing station. Landing this international cable at Matara will be a key milestone as well as a landmark for the telecom industry of Sri Lanka as well as the whole country. The SEA-ME-WE 5 submarine cable system will further enhance the uninterrupted connectivity to the world since any redundancies of the existing submarine cable systems (SEA-ME-WE 3 and SEA-ME-WE 4) can be routed through SEA-ME-WE 5 cable system.
The new cable system will enable Sri Lanka to leverage on its strategic marine geographical location in achieving the country’s strategic goals. Moreover this global project will have a positive impact on the overall growth of the country’s economy. On the economic front, a high speed broadband environment will encourage higher GDP, enhanced exports, increased productivity, inward migration and modernizing of other sectors. At all micro and macro-economic levels, it will reduce transaction costs, increase market coverage and competitiveness and create significant opportunities for job creation and income generation. In addition, it will foster economic growth and development through affordable, reliable and seamless global communications. This initiative will be one of the key enablers in achieving the move towards an inclusive digital economy and a SMART Sri Lanka.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa received the token of appreciation from Chairman-SLT, Nimal Welgama and Group CEO-SLT, Lalith De Silva at the Carlton House at Tangalle recently.