This June, Abhaya Induruwa was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for “exceptional contributions in the digital arena” at the first Sri Lanka Telecom Zero One Awards ceremony. Induruwa was inducted to the Internet Hall of Fame in 2014 as a 'Global Connector' and continues to work as a leader in the international community as head of the Centre for Cybercrime and Security Innovation in the School of Law, Criminal Justice and Computing at the Canterbury Christ Church University in the United Kingdom. Watch his award presentation below, with Induruwa's remarks on his decades of work to bring connectivity to Sri Lanka.
Since 2012, the Internet Hall of Fame has made it its mission to find and celebrate the people who have brought the global Internet to life, and in September it will reveal the names of the 2017 inductee class. The 2017 Internet Hall of Fame ceremony will be held on Monday, September 18, at 5:30 pm PDT at the University of California Los Angeles.
The Internet has come a long way since its earliest days, and the Internet Hall of Fame honors a select group of visionaries and innovators who were instrumental in the Internet’s development and advancement along the way. The 2017 inductees will be part of the fourth inductee class.
When the Internet Hall of Fame was launched, PC Magazine called the first inductees—which included Internet luminaries such as Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee—“Internet rock stars” who were, according to MSNBC, operating on a “whole different level of cool.”
This was a fitting description at the time, and one that is just as relevant now as it was then. From groundbreaking technologies to grassroots collaboration, our global society benefits from the people who have worked tirelessly—many times behind the scenes—to connect our world. We look forward to continuing to provide a platform for honoring this work.
Internet service that’s truly accessible everywhere is one step closer to becoming a reality as the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has, for the first time, given a company permission to build a next-generation satellite Internet service that promises to be both ultra-fast and affordable.
OneWeb, according to The Washington Post, will target U.S. consumers, “providing broadband anywhere in the U.S., particularly in rural areas where it can be difficult to provide fast Internet connections using traditional ground-based cables.” According to the Post, the new network will be built on a fleet of 720 satellites, which will orbit earth at an altitude of around 745 miles, and service could start as early as 2019. The approval from the FCC gives the company the ability to use airwaves that will beam the Internet down to earth.
From The Washington Post:
“Satellite Internet services are available now. But today's technology is slow, expensive and largely out-of-reach for individual consumers. For a connection barely fast enough to support Netflix, users can spend up to $200 a day — making it realistic only for corporate customers or, in some cases, relief workers responding to natural disasters where connectivity is a must. By contrast, the next generation of...
Gihan Dias is an active member of Sri Lanka’s Internet Society, but he has turned his focus away from building networks to developing Internet-based applications to advance his country.
The first app, he told the Internet Hall of Fame, involves using technology to help the government meet its requirement to communicate with a population that speaks different languages.
“Although we also use English, Sri Lanka has two national languages,” Dias noted. “One of the biggest problems is that we have two communities who speak different languages and so cannot talk to each other. This was a root cause of the 20-year civil war in our country, and if we want to avoid another war, we must enable people to communicate with each other.
So, translation is very important, especially for the government. They are required by law to provide services in both national languages, but they have been unable to fulfill that requirement. We are helping them do so.”
A second project focuses on e-learning.
“Again, this came from a national requirement,” Dias said. “We have a secondary school exam around age 16. Mathematics is compulsory. You have to pass.”
But nationally, about 50 percent fail mathematics, meaning they fail the entire exam, and subsequently cannot even go to a technical college.
Dias is working to set up an online tutoring system to help students pass.
“What we do is we give them problems to solve on-line,” he said. “If they...
When Gihan Dias wrote his first computer program in the late 1970s, he had never seen a computer. “I learned BASIC programming from a book, and wrote programs on paper,” he said. When he actually got to use a computer—in 1979—he knew he had found his passion.
A few years later he met the Internet, which became his career-long focus.
Dias was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2014 as a Global Connector for his role in setting up and the running the academic Internet in Sri Lanka, which started with the country’s pioneering e-mail system, LEARNmail.
He was also instrumental in setting up the country’s top-level domain registry, .lk and was the founder-president of the Lanka Academic Network, or LAcNet, a nonprofit dedicated to providing Internet access in Sri Lanka. LAcNet gave Lankan expatriates a way to keep in touch with their homeland.
So what stands out most from a 30-plus year career with a list of achievements that would make anyone proud? Getting Sri Lanka’s e-mail system—and then Internet—running, Dias reflected recently in an exclusive interview with the Internet Hall of Fame.
“What we did right at the beginning was a key achievement because it is really difficult to get people to understand the benefits of Internet, especially to get them to provide money or other resources, when they have no experience in what you are talking about,” he said. “Once we had the first networks it was easy to show it’s working and the...