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Feb 24, 2009 (LBO) – The disaster management capabilities of Sri Lanka’s regional government offices have been boosted with broadband services which will improve communications and decision-making, a United Nations agency said. “Before we had to physically meet and that was a costly and time consuming exercise,” said Mellawathanthri.

“The ADSL connection and the webcam are purchased at 5000 rupees. We get the hardware from Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) at a special discount rate.”

He said the UNDP is planning to integrate the system to existing government facilities to provide similar service for the public to use.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) says teleconferencing facilities at district government offices has allowed key officers to co-ordinate with their counterparts elsewhere cheaply without physically traveling for meetings.

“We gave ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Lines) broadband lines to all district government disaster management coordinators,” Ananda Mellawathanthri, country coordinator, UNDP said.

“Now they are all using Skype with the video conference facility; it’s saving us fuel and time.

“We have reduced the need to travel to Colombo and the telephone bills have also come