Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) announced on Tuesday that its new fibre-optic undersea cable, connecting Male in the Maldives to Colombo in Sri Lanka, will reduce international call charges. The cable was commissioned earlier this month as a USD20 million joint venture between SLT and the Maldives state-run telco Dhivehi Raajjeyge Gulhun (Dhiraagu), with Japan’s NEC Corp acting as main supplier. Currently, bilateral traffic of some 600,000 minutes per month is routed via satellite links. SLT said tariffs will begin to fall from next year when the cable becomes fully operational. The optical link will have a total capacity of 80Gbps, providing the Maldives with a dedicated 10Gbps bandwidth – enough to cope with 150,000 simultaneous voice calls. Dhiraagu’s customers will be able to access SLT’s International Private Leased Circuit (IPLC), Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network (IP-VPN), Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) and internet-based voice services, according to the Sri Lankan incumbent, which added that services such as digital TV could also be carried over the cable. Meanwhile, SLT is hoping to introduce TV-over-ADSL services to Sri Lanka by mid-2007. The planned service will include interactive programming, online games, video-on-demand and ‘many other features’.