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

Posted on April 5, 2009  /  0 Comments


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 advantages of the internet and intranet communication technologies” has set up this centre in the middle of the picturesque Glenore estate at Haputale, to serve a population of 5,000 from the surrounding villages. This is one of the 45 such centres in different estates in the Central, Uva and Sabaragamuva provinces.

The white dish, gives a sense of remoteness, but it need not be. As the crow flies, this place is close to both Bandarewela and Haputale – so close that 3G HSPA signals from both key providers are available. According to our tests, quality is medium to good for both. Had I not been late for my next visit, I could have done this blog post from there itself.

In other words, Minister Thondaman, you might be paying few times more for a dedicated radio link when you can have 3G HSPA broadband facilities from the same provider for not more than Rs. 3,000 (USD 26) per month.

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