In early 2012, Internet penetration in Sri Lanka was estimated to be around 15%. Broadband ADSL connection was introduced in Sri Lanka in 2003 by Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT). More and more subscribers are switching to the faster broadband option, though connectivity and quality are sporadic at times.
More and more Sri Lankans are connecting to the Internet through their mobile devices. The major telecom companies such as Dialog, SLT, and LankaCom offer packages with a fixed line and a broadband Internet connection.
With Dialog, you pay a connection charge of Rs5,000 (US$38, €30), then a monthly charge of Rs2,000 (US$15, €12) for their basic broadband package. SLT have a range of packages for businesses, home, family and light use. The family package, for example, has a connection fee of Rs1,000 (US$8, €6), then a monthly rental charge of Rs1,490 (US$11, €9).
Depending on how much you want to use the Internet, it might pay to shop around in order to find the best deal. Combination packages with a fixed line, mobile contract or television can save you a lot of money.
How to get an Internet connection
In order to apply for an Internet connection in Sri Lanka, you’ll need:
- to be over 18
- your passport with a valid visa
- proof of your address (or the address where the connection will be) -
- Utility bill (less than 6 months old)
- Bank statement (credit card or checking account)
- Registered letter in your name received within the last 3 months
- Rent/lease agreement
- Letter from your employer
If you don’t want a broadband connection, you can opt for mobile Internet via a dongle. These run on the 3G network and come in prepaid and postpaid packages. 3G coverage is widespread throughout the island, but the best connections are found in Colombo and surrounding areas, in the south and northernmost regions.
Internet cafes are springing up around Sri Lanka as web connectivity grows. They are mostly limited to urban areas and tourist regions, however. Most come equipped with chat software and VOIP services such as Skype. You can also rent headsets to make calls (sometimes these are free).
Charges tend to be cheap, in the region of Rs2-10 per minute. Many hostels in tourist areas and major cities will have a PC with Internet that you can rent during your stay.