IFC provides US$ 150 million to expand SL broadband connectivity
Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, Dialog Axiata PLC (Dialog), is set to expand and improve broadband connectivity across the country with International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) support.
IFC’s loan of up to $150 million will help Dialog expand and improve its network capacity through the upgrading of existing sites and the construction of new 4G sites. Dialog also seeks to increase its fibre optic network footprint and implement upgrades to increase both capacities and efficiencies in core network operations.
As the leading telecommunication services provider in Sri Lanka, Dialog represents over 50 percent of both the mobile and fixed broadband market in the country and is well equipped to effectively expand quality connectivity options to underserved areas in Sri Lanka.
With over 32 million mobile subscribers, Sri Lanka has made substantial progress in terms of penetration of mobile services, with 149 percent mobile penetration versus an average 85 percent of its South Asian peers.
While Sri Lanka ranks amongst the top 20 countries for Broadband affordability, the internet quality and speed has been weak with Sri Lanka ranking 125th globally (among 141 countries) in download speed. This significant quality gap in the market is mainly due to heavy reliance on mobile services for data usage and use of older technologies such as 3G.
Apart from previous debt and equity investments in 2004 and 2007, IFC also helped strengthen the business skills of Dialog’s retail distributors in Sri Lanka, benefitting more than 3,000 small business owners from rural and post conflict regions of the country.
IFC will also ensure that Dialog adopts an enhanced environmental and social management system (ESMS) according to IFC Performance Standards for their mobile network deployment, in line with Dialog’s endeavours of pursuing green connectivity, supporting global climate action goals and achieving net-zero CO2 emission by 2050
Axiata Group has been a key partner for IFC in – Asia – including in Bangladesh – promoting the development of digital infrastructure and digital economy in markets where it operates.
Commenting, Director/Group Chief Executive, Supun Weerasinghe of Dialog Axiata PLC said, that with the support of IFC and Axiata, we are able to initiate this next phase of connectivity infrastructure development in the country and continue our commitment to delivering uninterrupted services and world-class technology to all Sri Lankans and Enterprises.”
.The need to strengthen connectivity and accelerate growth is critical for Sri Lanka now more than ever. with this latest investment, IFC-Dialog Axiata synergy marks yet another significant milestone in the partnership to improve the quality of connectivity for people and businesses across the country,” said IFC Regional Industry Director for Infrastructure Asia and the Pacific Isabel Chatterton.
Over the past decade, IFC committed and mobilised more than $ 6.5 billion in digital infrastructure and services, and more than $ 2 billion over the last two years alone.
In addition to enhancing and enabling digital infrastructure, IFC is helping its portfolio companies to align their environmental and social practices with IFC’s performance standards.