Sri Lanka's government has proposed plans that will allow third-party companies to build telecom towers.

Such changes could come into play, as the country looks to make adjustments to its Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Act (TRCSL) for the first time in 28 years.

Sri Lanka towers
– Getty Images

The TRCSL was set up in 1996 to promote sustained development in the telecommunication industry.

State technology minister Kanaka Herath told reporters in Colombia, Sri Lanka, last week that the government will table the amendment, as reported by Economy Next.

"We expect to have the parliament debate within two months,” Herath said.

The amendment also includes the regulation of subsea cable networks.

“Right now what we do is the telco companies are the ones who develop them. The TRC allocates 50 percent of it and telco companies build it. After this amendment of the TRC Act, we will be able to open it for independent companies. So that they will be able to develop the towers and hand it over to any telco company," he added.

It's hoped that the move to allow third-party firms to develop and operate telecom towers will speed up the pace at which the towers are put up.

Herath said the government is aiming to build 276 towers to improve connectivity across the country and support the government's target to grow the digital economy to $15 billion in 2030 from last year’s $2.3 billion.

Financial constraints and a tough economic landscape in Sri Lanka have meant that telcos in the country have had to cut their budgets for towers.

“Right now when we build towers, we share it. Say if Dialog builds a tower, they share it with (Sri Lanka) Telecom and with other telco companies,” Herath said.

“Similarly we are trying to give it to the third party so that it will develop faster than we have right now.”