Sri Lanka’s first outdoor wireless computer network is now up and running.
Surprisingly, it is not in Colombo. It is not even in any of the other key places. It was installed in Mahavilachchiya, a little known village, 40 km from the nearest town Anuradhapura, and surrounded three sides by the Vilpattu jungle.
Most of the villagers are either farmers or labourers with a monthly income of about Rs. 5,000 - 10,000 (US$ 50 - 100). Though there is electricity, it is not yet covered by any of the terrestrial or mobile phone networks. This means there is not a single telephone in this village.
On the other hand, Mahavilachchiya has more than 50 PCs and a sophisticated multimedia lab. Majority of the computers are at the houses of the children, who in addition to use them for their studies, design web sites of some of the foreign companies. These PCs are now connected by using the “Mesh Wireless technology” which gives them direct Internet and E-mail facilities.
Wireless was the only approach that could be used, as there were no telephone lines the distribution of the houses makes a wired network set up too expensive.