Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
SL’S internet penetration tops 20mn people as pandemic upends lifestyles
■As at June, this year, 20.6mn had some form of internet connection
■A rare positive outcome of ongoing pandemic NSL has witnessed a significant improvement in telecom infrastructure in last 18 months
■This could encourage organisations to consider hybrid working and learning arrangements in post-pandemic era
As a rare positive outcome of the ongoing pandemic, nearly the entire population of Sri Lanka has now been connected to internet within a very short span of time, which otherwise would have taken years, as people sought online connectivity when their mobility was largely confined by the virus-related restrictions.
According to the latest data available through June this year, 20.6 million Sri Lankans had some form of internet connection—either via fixed broadband or mobile broadband—as education, work, trade and commerce and people-topeople interactions fast shifted to virtual platforms powered by internet.
This marked a phenomenal increase of 55.2 percent from the same time period last year, when the country was nearly coming off of its first wave of the virus. By that time, the country had only 13.3 million internet connections.
According to the Central Bank data, Sri Lanka’s mid-year population is estimated at 21.9 million as of 2021, which indicates that nearly every person now is connected to internet.
This is undoubtedly a silver lining, as a population connected to internet is an asset for a country, which is seeking to rebuild its economy ravaged by the pandemic, as it lays the initial platform to build a knowledge economy, which Sri Lankan aspires to have.
Further, the vastly improved telecommunication infrastructure over the last 18 months and fairly successful experiment operating via digital platforms could prompt many to work and learn remotely even after the pandemic passes, as it could potentially save a lot of resources.
Already the world is talking about hybrid working arrangements in the post-pandemic era and online learning has leapfrogged, encouraging many educational institutions to go for a hybrid model, even after the pandemic passes.
A fortnight ago, it was also proposed in Sri Lanka to adopt a hybrid model for school education, even after reopening the schools, to provide a wholesome experience to the school-going age children.