Mr Wanni's Speech at mesh internet project launch in Mahavilachchiya
(ETPL) did the implementation of the mesh boxes to provide internet
access to 30 students' houses in the village. ICTA monitored the
project while UNDP and some other projects funded the project.
Mr. Wanni's Speech
Chief Guest, Mr. Lalith Weerathunga, the Chairman of the
Telecommunications Regulatory Commission and the Secretary to the
President of Sri Lanka, all the guests from the President’s Office,
officials from ICT Agency of Sri Lanka and Enterprise Technology Pvt
Ltd. and Bartleet Group, personnel from police, army and home guards,
friends, parents, villagers and the students.
welcome you all to this historical event. Horizon Lanka Foundation has
been creating history for the past 8 years and we are about to launch
our latest innovation, the implementation of mesh technology, to
provide internet access to 28 households and 2 public schools in
The non-availability of an
internet connection for Horizon Lanka for 6 years could not hamper our
growth. But when we were able to get internet from innovative LankaCom,
the only Internet Service Provider who had the capability to provide us
with Internet, we realized the amazing strength of it.
to Internet and emails, students started getting A grades for English
and the learning process became very exciting and enjoyable for the
students and the teaching process became much easier for the teachers.
Our website www.horizonlanka.org could be regularly updated and it made
our website one of the most visited Sri Lankan sites in the world.
me brief you how mesh became a reality. At an e Society exhibition held
in Colombo in 2004, Mr Chanuka Wattegama and Mr. Kithsiri Gunasekara
sparkled the first flame for mesh. Having heard that Mahavilachchiya is
the village with the highest computer density of, they suggested that
mesh technology could be easily implemented in Mahavilachchiya. Miss
Rehana Wijesinghe’s smart writing saw to the funding aspect, and UNDP
and other funding agencies extended their support. We also thank Manju
Haththotuwa, then CEO of ICTA for playing an active role in this
When everything was well set to
start the project, the next hurdle was the problem of getting
permission for the frequency. Licensing cost us a huge amount of money
and if we have to renew the licenses for the next year too it will be a
big blow to the project. We expect that the TRC would take actions to
free this frequency enabling us to replicate mesh in other parts of Sri
Lanka as well. I have learnt that this particular frequency is free in
Next big challenge was to
increase the existing bandwidth 128 kilo bytes per second to cater to
the needs of 30 internet connections. Bandwidth was not sufficient at
all as all the students started sharing the same connection as soon as
public schools were closed. We thank Lanka Com for increasing bandwidth
up to 256 kilo bytes per second on our request even before the
agreements were signed. LankaCom promptly increased the bandwith to
enable mesh to be proactive. We have to mention here that we would need
at least 1 Mega bytes bandwidth for mesh network as mesh network is
likely to expand up to around 100 PCs soon. In some of the students’
houses there are up to five PCs and they are already working on small
networks inside their houses to enable Internet access to multiple
users in the families. We also provided internet to two public schools
and we will ensure both the schools expand their computer projects
within the next few months. We have already been able to provide a
brand new PCs and peripherals to Saliyamala Public School and we are
trying to do the same with Thakshila Public School. We want to ensure
that these two schools have computer labs each comprising of 25 PCs .
Both the schools cater to about a 1000 students.
also provided few PCs to Mahavilachchiya police station and the nearby
police post. Hundreds of police officers and home guards learn
computers fast and there is already a big demand for their PCs to be
connected to mesh. So, we hope that ICT Agency will increase our
bandwidth up to 1 Mega bytes to cater to this growing demand as they
have always done in the past.
Our aim is to
produce over a 1000 IT skilled youth from Mahavilachchiya within next
three years so that we could use their technical know-how in the
Business Process Outsourcing project we are going to start shortly.
Hope the donors and well-wishers will help us by providing us PCs for
this ambitious plan. Even used PCs are welcome.
all our projects we always go the extra mile. We are doing a live
webcast of this inauguration on an online radio station called Ahamu
Online Radio. You can listen to live updates from Mahavilachchiya on
www.ahamu.com. Two of our students, Ruvini Senevirathna and Ruwan
Laksiri are doing the live program, and they hope to work with Ahamu
Radio frequently from their homes by updating news from Mahavilachchiya
in future too.
We partnered with ICT
Agency of Sri Lanka to make Mahavilachchiya an e Village in 2005. We
are almost there now with all the innovations coming up. Our next move
is to start a BPO project here for the IT skilled youth to work. We are
being backed by FARO and ICTA in this venture. But we still have a few
barriers to overcome for this.
challenge is road conditions in Mahavilachchiya. Road to
Mahavilachchiya up to Oyamaduwa is excellent but from there onwards it
is in a dilapidated condition. We hope His Excellency the President
will help the village by repairing the road to Mahavilachchiya via
Anuradhapura and Nochchiyagama. Not to mention the roads inside the
village too. Our to-be-investors’ main worry was the road conditions
here. We get visitors from both Colombo and overseas every week and
they find it difficult to travel due to bad road conditions.
problem is frequently fluctuating electricity in Mahavilachchiya. We
had a problem even this morning and were in a big trouble. Buying a
generator would not be an answer as our operations are done at 30
places through mesh now. We need the government attention on this issue
We also have the absence of a
mobile phone network within the village but Dialog Telekom is said to
be working on covering Mahavilachchiya soon on our request.
have done what is humanly possible and even impossible for the future
of Mahavilachchiya. Now it is the time for the government to play a
bigger role in developing infrastructure in and around Mahavilachchiya.
If the government helps us doing it, hope we can make Mahavilachchiya
another Andra Pradesh or Bangalore using ICT. We also seek the help of
the private sector for this.