By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
The much-touted Google Loon project is likely to slip away from Sri Lanka due to legal snags stemming from spectrum allocation, a concerned Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Minister said.
“If we delay anymore, Google project may pull out. We may miss the opportunity and another country could be selected,” Minister Harin Fernando told reporters in Colombo yesterday.
The Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) had been asked to release 10 MHz Pair (10 MHz/10MHz) in the 700 band spectrum for a period not exceeding 12 months for the Google Loon trials. Sri Lanka, being a member state of International Telecommunication Union (ITU), TRCSL had clarified the request with the international body. However ITU had said the frequencies couldn’t be released.
Sri Lanka’s Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), who is facilitating the project, has now referred the matter to the country’s Attorney General (AG). The AG is supposed to submit a report in this regard to the cabinet in coming few weeks, Minister Fernando said.
“It is out of our hands to some extent. It is also up to Google to negotiate. We both have to fight hard. The Sri Lankan government can certainly push harder at the ITU at the level of a legal standpoint,” Fernando added.
Goole Loon project aims to provide high speed Internet at lower costs using high altitude balloon creating an aerial wireless network.