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Sri Lanka: A Nenasala telecenter – The story of two photos

April, 2008

I took the first photo. That was in April 2008 in an informal telecenter visit. The second one appeared in a Sinhala blog recently. Mangedara Nenasala telecenter at Thulhiriya (less than 2 km from MAS Holdings) is one of the hundreds of defunct Nenasala telecenters. During better times it provided services such as utility bill […]

Sri Lanka: Minister Thondaman, are you being led down the garden path?

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Sustainability is not an issue for this telecenter. It provides all its service, be it Internet surfing, computer training, library facilities or even typesetting and printing services free of charge, treating them as community services. Thondaman Foundation, a non-profit organization, with a ministerial backing, that intends “to make available to the plantation community the wide […]

Sri Lanka: Dishes, dishes everywhere…

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Multiple dishes is a common sight at many Nenasalas – the ‘telecentres’ set up under the e-Sri Lanka program, funded by the World Bank. Some of them are huge – with diameters little less than 2m. Having not done a design recently, I cannot tell the prices offhand, but I do know they are expensive […]

Sri Lanka: Bharti Airtel rates out

It looks pretty simple. Incoming free. Outgoing Rs. 2 per minute (to any phone) Local SMS Rs. 1.00 (to any) International SMS Rs. 5. Phone charges are same for prepaid and post paid. Cannot figure out why one should go for post-paid. There is also a broadband package for Rs. 300. (Minimum commitment) Download the […]

Sri Lanka: Whither onshore BPOs @BOP?

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Recessions are not bad for everybody. Proverbial silver line in the cloud, they bring hope to some. Success of the India BPO industry can partially be attributed to the post 9/11 recession. Tighter the economy, cheaper the solutions business looks for. How far onshore rural BPOs cater to the needs of their clients? It might […]

2008: Watershed year for telecom sector in India

For a country that stood at the bottom of the pyramid in terms of telecom penetration a decade ago, 2008 was a watershed when India’s subscriber base topped 350 million users to make its network the second largest in the world after China, displacing the US. The significant achievement was made possible by the mobile […]

Sri Lanka telecenter connectivity story 2: If there is a will there is a way…

  On January 16, 2008 a bus bomb went off killing 25 and injuring more than 60, in a remote area of Moneragala, arguably the least connected district in the island. Within less than two hours, the international news channels were up with clips. Nuwan Sameera (inset) FTPed them from his Nenasala telecenter in Bibile […]

Sri Lanka telecenter connectivity story 1: Not an infrastructure issue always…

Ambuluwawa, about 1,100 m above sea level, is probably the highest point in the vicinity of Gampola. Not surprisingly, all telecom operators exploit the geography. Transmission stations/towers encircle the summit. (See above) That is what one calls infrastructure. Just 10 km away, Sirimalwatte Ananda thero, a young and energetic Buddhist monk, runs a Nenasala, a […]

India: Among checked, 20% SIM cards cannot be traced

Even as SIM cards have become the focus of investigations to establish the identity of the Mumbai attackers, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has found that at least two lakh mobile phone users, almost 20% of the total vetted connections so far, had provided fake identity papers and their addresses were unverified. In an ongoing […]

What do we know about Sri Lanka’s Telecentres?

Here are the summarised results from the telecenter operator survey done by LIRNEasia at the weCan workshop in October 2008. Sample was not representative, but large enough to get a general idea about the telecenter operations in Sri Lanka. Out of a total of 147 operators surveyed, the bulk, 101 were from Nenasalas, the 500 […]

India: Bharti Airtel gives US$ 40 million to promote telecom innovations

Telecom major Bharti Airtel on Thursday launched a Rs 200-crore (about US$ 40 million) innovation fund for promoting entrepreneurship in the telecom sector. The objective of the fund is to provide opportunities to the entrepreneurs to undertake innovation in the field of telecom with regard to content, software and technologies, Bharti Airtel Joint MD and […]

India begins process to auction 3G airwaves

New Delhi: The Indian government is set to begin here Monday the process to e-auction radio frequencies for telecom operators to start third-generation (3G) mobile services across the country and fetch the exchequer over Rs 40000 crore ($10 billion). The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will hold a pre-bid conference here with all the potential consultants […]

Sri Lanka: Udaya Gammanpila says Environmental Levy does not burden public

Responding to Rohan Samarajiva’s views on newly implemented Environmental levy in Lankadeepa last week, Central Environmental Authority Chairman Udaya Gammanpila calls it essential and the ‘first progressive tax’ in Sri Lanka. Assuring it does not burden public, he says any tax can be initially unpopular but the impact should be seen in long term. (Lankadeepa, […]

Sri Lanka: Same Broadband; Different Taxes?

We all missed the obvious flaw, but not Malinda. The full credit for detecting that you are taxed differently for the same service should go to the eighteen year old from Kurunegala – the ever vigilant consumer. He pointed out in the latest post in his local language blog for a 512/128 kpbs Wi-Max connection you […]

Sri Lanka: Road to ‘Dharma Rajya’ does not look ‘toll-free’

Central Environmental Authority Chairman Udaya Gammanpila calls the new ‘Environmental tax’ essential, pro-poor and progressive. Releasing used mobile phones and CFL bulbs to environment is dangerous, he warns, with a long list of hazardous chemicals that would perhaps put a chemistry professor to shame. He wants to collect them for recycling.  The tax money will […]

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