Last Monday, the District Court of Colombo refused Sri Lanka Telecom’s applications for Enjoining Orders against Dialog Axiata. Back in June, SLT had instituted proceedings against Dialog seeking to restrain the company from providing any Fixed Telecommunication Services including Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (GPON) Active Solutions operations.
Gigabit Passive Optical Networks, or GPON is a point-to-multipoint access mechanism. This utilizes the passive splitters in a fibre distribution network. Simply put, the technology would allow an entity to reduce costs and increase bandwidth.
SLT Vs. Dialog: The Court Case Edition
Whilst Sri Lanka Telecom sought to obtain the Enjoining Orders, Dialog lodged an appearance. For those not sure what that means, an appearance is an indication that the defendant, in this case Dialog, intends to defend the proceedings. Dialog pointed out to the court that SLT had mistaken in its proceedings against them and had misrepresented facts to court. What facts exactly? Well, SLT stated earlier that Dialog wasn’t entitled to provide or be engaged in GPON Active Solutions operations. However, Dialog Broadband Networks (Private) Ltd (Dialog Broadband), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dialog Axiata, holds entitlement for this under the license issued to Dialog Broadband.
If you’re wondering, the case actually doesn’t affect Dialog Broadband’s GPON-based Fibre Solutions. Not after the recent events anyway. If anything, it was SLT’s actions that proved to be monopolistic and anti-competitive.
Meanwhile, Dialog Broadband had also filed action against Sri Lanka Telecom in the District Court of Colombo. This was to restrain SLT from obstructing/disrupting the supply and installation of GPON-based Active Solutions. Furthermore, Dialog stated to court that SLT’s case is wrongly constituted and assumed upon confidential information belonging to Dialog Broadband. According to Dialog, SLT had unlawfully and wrongfully obtained this confidential information. This contained details such as Network Architecture and Service Delivery Architecture design specifications.
Following this, the court had ordered SLT to disclose the source which the telecom provider had obtained these details from. The court also asked Sri Lanka Telecom to show cause as to why the interim junction restraining SLT from using the confidential information shouldn’t be granted. Thereby, on the 24th of July, SLT’s enjoining orders to prevent Dialog’s fibre network expansion.
Can Things Get Better Though?
Over the past years, Dialog had made significant investments in upgrading its internet infrastructure. Some of these investments include the 100G-Plus Bay of Bengal Gateway submarine fibre cable and the launch of its Tier-III certified data centre. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Telecom has also been making strides in the local internet space. Almost 2 months back, SLT successfully tested Pre-5G LTE-A Pro Technology.
Its clear that internet infrastructure seems to be growing in the island. It may not be as fast as how us users want it to grow though. But if things are to accelerate in the local internet front perhaps collaboration among the telcos would prove beneficial to the industry as a whole. But with incidents such as these happening, can we expect that to happen anytime soon? One can only hope.