Cablegate: Wi-Fi Survey, Sri Lanka

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



E.O 12958:N/A

REF: STATE 85946

1. Post response to reftel Wi-Fi survey request

A) Has host country allocated unlicensed radio-
frequency spectrum for use by Wi-Fi and similar
wireless technologies or is it planning to do so? If
so are there separate allocations for indoor and
outdoor use? Alternatively, is host country planning
to authorize Wi-Fi services as low-power devices
without a specific radio-service allocation?

-- At the moment Wi-Fi is a licensed service and
allowed in the 2.4GHz and 2.43GHz band. Sri Lanka
has not allocated unlicensed radio frequency spectrum
for Wi-Fi or any similar technologies.

-- Sri Lanka is planning to allocate the full 2.4GHz
ISM band for indoor and part of 2.4GHz ISM band for
outdoor use with certain power level restrictions in
both categories.

-- Telecommunications authorities are exploring the
possibility of making this license-exempt either for
private or commercial use or both. But no decision
has been made yet.

B) Can Wi-Fi systems be used without a license in
host country? If licenses are required what briefly
are the licensing procedures?

-- Presently, Wi-Fi systems cannot be used without a
license. The applicant should forward an application
form with the copy of specifications. If technical
details are satisfactory, approval will be given and
an annual license is issued upon the payment of a

C) Can Wi-Fi systems be used for commercial purposes
without a license?


D) Are there any commercial Wi-Fi networks that
provide service to the public currently operating in
host country?


E) Can post provide any examples of how Wi-Fi is
currently being used in host country? We are
particularly interested in developing country
examples that demonstrate how Wi-Fi can be used to
create digital opportunity and address social and
economic challenges.

-- Currently, the Telecommunications Regulatory
Commission does not permit unlicensed operation in
2.4GHz band. License operators are permitted to use
802.2 lb equipment with 30 MHz slot from 2.4 GHz to
2.43 GHz on shared basis. The licensees fall into 3

-- 1. Four facility-based data operators are using
this and other technologies to provide public
(commercial) data services, primarily Internet
access. The maximum allowable output power for this
category is limited to 1 Watt. This is for longer
distance outdoor applications.

-- 2. Four other large organizations are authorized
to use the same 30Mhz band with a maximum power of
100mW. These users are permitted to use external
antenna and allowed to transmit within their

-- 3. Other small users are allowed to use this
equipment within (the above mentioned) 30Mhz band
with a maximum power of 100mW and are not permitted
to use other antennas except the original equipment

F) We welcome whatever additional information about
Wi-Fi related host country developments that post
believes might be helpful. Such information could
include: Is Wi-Fi in use in rural areas? If so how
is "backhaul" connectivity provided to the Wi-Fi
system (i.e., via satellite, DSL lines, cable TV
networks)? Are there any longer distance (beyond 100
meters outdoors) Wi-Fi networks in use in-country?
How many Wi-Fi units have been sold in host country?
-- The usage in rural areas is very limited. The
backhaul connectivity is normally through DSL lines.

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