Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) has commissioned its high speed fibre-optic backbone cable linking the former war zones in the northern Jaffna peninsula with the rest of the country, Lanka Business Online reports. SLT said its expanded fibre-optic network will improve customer access to advanced broadband services, help businesses expand and enable all telecoms service operators to increase their operational coverage in the north. The incumbent telco began the project after the official end of the civil war in May 2009. Until now, SLT’s optical fibre network had been expanded to Vavuniya and Mannar, in the southern zone of Northern Province, with northernmost areas including Jaffna provided with limited connectivity through microwave radio links from Mannar. The new fibre-optic cable connects the northern districts of Mannar, Vavuniya, Trincomalee and Jaffna. The project has seen 177km of cable laid along the main ‘A9’ road as well as new telephone exchanges installed at Mankulam and Mullaithivu, whilst the towns of Jaffna, Manipay, Sitthankerny, Chunnakam, Kopay, Chavakachcheri and Nelliady have already been connected to the SLT broadband network through optical fibre, with others to follow. From these locations, SLT’s copper access network has been expanded to customer premises in the area for the provision of xDSL broadband services and fixed telephony.