Intel Chief Commends Government for its Efforts to Bridge the Digital Divide – Daily News – December 23, 2005

Radhika, Ruvini, Iresha and Nanda Wanninayaka with Intel Chairman Dr. Craig Barret
Radhika, Ruvini, Iresha and Nanda Wanninayaka with Intel Chairman Dr. Craig Barret

During his first visit to Sri Lanka, Intel Corporation Chairman Craig Barrett discussed several initiatives to help the country use technology to improve access and education.

Intel Corporation Chairman Dr. Craig Barrett, who donated four brand new computers to the Horizon Lanka Foundation in Mahawilachchiya speaks to the members of the foundation.

Barrett commended the government for its efforts to accelerate technology adoption through its Nenasala program, a growing network of knowledge centres bringing information and communications technology to rural and semi-urban areas.

Earlier this year, Intel also collaborated with the government to launch the “e-Sri Lanka PC Program,” an initiative that makes technology more affordable and educates citizens on the benefits of using technology and computers.

“These programs have demonstrated that technology can change the way people learn and communicate with one another, offering new opportunities for distance learning and training, e-governance and remote health care,” said Barrett.

To advance education in Sri Lanka, Barrett announced that Intel will collaborate with the Sri Lankan Education Ministry and the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) to introduce the Intel Teach to the Future program in select schools in Sri Lanka in the 2006 academic year.

This professional development program is part of a worldwide effort to help teachers integrate technology into instruction to develop students’ critical thinking skills and enhance learning.

Participating teachers receive extensive instruction and resources to promote effective technology use in the classroom.

Barrett also announced that Intel is collaborating with Sri Lanka Telecom to begin deploying an Intel-based WiMAX networks across the island nation by the end of this year.

WiMAX networks are being deployed around the world to deliver high-speed, low-cost broadband Internet access to homes, businesses, schools and government facilities. Once deployed, the network will connect rural and urban areas in Sri Lanka, helping to facilitate digital inclusion in the remote parts of the nation.

“Communications infrastructure is the key to connecting people and ideas,” said Barrett.

“Intel is driving the development and deployment of broadband wireless technologies such as WiMAX to promote an infrastructure that meets the needs of developing nations.”

Airspan, MTT successfully demonstrates next generation broadband Technology Airspan Networks, Inc., a leading worldwide provider of broadband wireless access networks, including WiMAX standard systems, and carrier class VoIP systems, announced recently that it has successfully completed a live demonstration of its AS.MAX WiMAX solution in Sri Lanka.

At an event hosted by Intel in Colombo, where Dr. Craig Barrett, Chairman – Intel Corporation, delivered a keynote address on Digital Inclusion (how Sri Lanka can capitalize on the digital evolution), the power of digital connectivity was demonstrated when, Mr. Barrett made a video call over a WiMAX link to the Mayor of Galle, a southern port city of Sri Lanka.

The call was carried using Airspan’s MacroMAX base-station platform and the nationwide Wireless Backbone Network operated by MTT Network (Pvt.) Limited.

The World’s first Indoor, Self Install WiMAX Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) provided by Airspan (Easy ST) was used on top of the perimeter wall of the Galle’s historical Dutch Fort to connect to an Airspan MacroMAX base station site located 2.5 kms away on the other side of the Galle Bay.

This base station installed at MTT’s Network Node at Rumassala was interconnected to the WiMAX base Station in Colombo via MTT’s SDH/PHD wireless back bone. Airspan and MTT were thus successfully able to demonstrate a two-way video call to a location where no other communications technology existed to provide the connectivity.

Mithila Mendis, Regional Director for Airspan, said: “We are very pleased that our technology was used to provide this demonstration. The success of event showed how our WiMAX technologies can be used in a seamless manner to provide a multitude of services including video.

We have developed an unparalleled product portfolio and skill-set for wireless deployments, which will bring significant value to operators in countries like Sri Lanka, where broadband wireless digital connectivity continues to grow.”

Chaminda Rathnayake, CEO of MTT Networks (Pvt) Ltd said “We are extremely pleased with the results of technology trial for WiMAX, where we were able to demonstrate that MTT’s Network is capable of integrating next generation Wireless technology.

MTT is committed to aggressively rolling out WiMAX based services across Sri Lanka such that its true potential is realized for the benefit of all end users”

Airspan’s AS.MAX product family has been designed for indoor, self-installable deployment of customer premises equipment, an essential requirement of operators for the economic rollout of broadband wireless.

The EasyST is the first product of its type to fully enable indoor plug-and-play WiMAX services. The product family became commercially available in the third quarter of 2005.

The products give businesses and consumers uninterrupted access to a rich variety of high bandwidth applications such as networked gaming, streamed digital music, TV, videoconferencing, and other real-time services at speeds faster than today’s 3G networks. Fixed WiMAX is expected to deliver end-user data rates greater than 1 Mbps-3 to 5 times faster than today’s commercial 3G networks.

Intel donates PCs

Intel Corporation Chairman Craig Barrett responding to a request by the Horizon Lanka Foundation for used computers gave away four computers to the Foundation based at Mahawilachchiya – one of the most rural villages of Sri Lanka, which was started with limited resources.

The e-Village is a significant chapter in the development in the Mahawilachchiya community history. Here are some of the achievements of the foundation so far:

(1) Two hundred rural students are now receiving quality ICT education, through the Horizon Lanka Academy. Further information on this school can be found at

(2) Over 30 computers are now established in the village. The Horizon Lanka Foundation hopes to promote ICT education in the village for the benefit of a wider population by providing PCs to all homes of the village. This it hopes to achieve through its Digital Butterflies program. Log on to for more information on how readers could help this worthy cause.

(3) Mahawilachchiya is the only rural Sri Lankan village with 24 hours ICT connectivity. This is symbolic and a message for marginal level communities all over the world.

(4) Mahawilachchiya is also one of the few villages in Sri Lanka with a fully equipped computer room and a practical ICT educational plan to educate each of the villagers.