Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Maldive Islands

Home

  Back 
Information Technology

 

The year 2000 marks a special landmark in the history of communication in the Maldives. All inhabited islands were connected  telephone services by the end of that year.  Today, while all islands may not have house-to-house connections, each island has a telephone booth that connects it to the rest of the world. Many of the larger islands have all facilities including the Internet.   

Antenna

Communication towers like this are a common sight in the islands these days.

This was a far cry from the situation just 40 years ago.  Before 1960, the only way to send a message to an island was to send a letter on a sailing boat and hope one would be lucky if the letter reached in a month.  Things improved slightly in the 60s, when RT sets were installed in the atoll offices.  Soon walkie talkies were given to island chiefs.  

Walkie talkies themselves were a revolution of sorts.  Katheebs made a pretty scene in the island beaches sporting strange looking devices and saying "Hello, hello .....over". For many islanders these were the first English words they would hear.  It spawned a whole new culture in the islands, with children making toy walkie talkies. While walkie talkies were a definite improvement in communication it made life very difficult for the katheebs.  They had to go to the beach at the appointed times to contact the atoll office, come rain or sun.  Many katheebs build huts on the beach called "walkie talkie houses". 

We have come a long way since then. The Maldives telecom company Dhiraagu has been improving its services and making them more affordable in recent years. Thus mobile phone and Internet services have come down considerably in recent years. However, the small size of the market and the fragmented nature of the country is a severe constraint on such efforts.

 

Typical road scene on a Maulood day

In September 2001 Dhiraagu marked the inauguration of house to house telephones in Kulhuduffushi island.  

The government of Maldives realizes that the way forward is through the information superhighway. In the last few years it has taken some very constructive steps to foster information technology in the country. Reducing the import duty on computers is one such step. More recently the government has announced its intention to provide low priced Internet connections to all schools in the country during the next academic year.