The looks may deceive, but this is a radio station. Prabhavi Community Radio – the first Internet community radio in Sri Lanka comes from Prabhavi Resources Center, Weranketagoda, Ampara – the post-conflict district in Eastern province (8 hours travel from Colombo). It operates from a Nenasala, one of the 500 odd telecenters funded by the World Bank under e-Sri Lanka program. A brainchild of Ajith Karunarathne, it runs as a nonprofit venture entirely by volunteers Asiri (red shirt, first photo) and his team.
Strangely, this radio station connects to Internet thru a 128 kbps pipe. That is all available, though both major broadband providers claim they cover the Ampara town – 15 km away. The link is from not any of them. The unidirectional antenna – in a 15 m tall tower – is directed not towards Ampara but far ways Batticaloa – probably the nearest hub.
Nelan Dayarathne, the current manager of the center (inset) has no complaints. Yes, sometimes the link fails when it rains heavily, but otherwise it is adequate to link the station to the net simultaneously providing the rest of the telecenter services. Perhaps the low sharing increases throughput – a phenomenon observed in testing the links of the same operator in Colombo. Please wait AT-Tester will tell us in due course – in the next phase of LIRNEasia’s broadband benchmarking project.