The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rural hubs roll out on info highway
- Remote villages in state caught on the Web via DakNet

Satasankh, April 22: A cybercafe is a distant dream at Satasankh, a village in Puri famous for its coir-woven mats and handicrafts. Still, Susmita Sethi, an intermediate student and a resident of the village, can’t stop smiling after placing an order of gifts over e-mail to her elder brother working in Chandigarh.

“I plan to order some cosmetics later on, when I save up some money,” said a beaming Susmita, before she logged out of the computer.

Antaryami Das of Pathrchakda village near Kantilo in Nayagarh district was jobless after he had to attend to his ailing father for three months. A few months later, Das bagged a job in Hyderabad after having posted his resume online.

Sounds miraculous' Not any more to the residents of villages like Satsankha, Dandamukundpur and Pipili on the Bhubaneswar-Puri highway, where DakNet — a patented “store and forward” network — developed by United Villages of US is bringing the wonders of Internet to remote villages untouched by the new waves of communication.

The service launched by United Villages Inc four months ago in the rural hub, however, isn’t the click-and-surf real time Internet urban Orissa is used to. For starters, there is a time lag between a user’s request and the service delivered.

“This could be between 2 hours to 24 hours depending on the request,” said Kishor Sutar, network service manager of United Villages. “But in remote locations, access and affordability is key, even if it involves a time lag,” he adds.

The technology, which harnesses Wi-Fi networks and digital storage, is cost-effective, reliable and serves the needs of rural subscribers. And that’s the key to success. “None of my subscribers have a reason to complain. I have handed out marksheets to students,” said Sukanta Sahoo, who runs the kiosk of United Villages at Satasankh.

When a subscriber sends an email, or submits a search request, it gets transferred to a Fixed Access Point — something like hard disk drive of a computer — where it is stored.

A few selected buses fitted out with short-range Wireless Fidelity antennae pass through the villages automatically picking up data like stored emails and voice messages as they go. Once a bus reaches a city with Internet connectivity, it relays the data to their appointed destinations via the Web.

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