|The survey examines the use of computers and the Internet in Sri Lanka from the perspective of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) members. It attempts to describe the general nature of IT use in terms of the availability, access, familiarity and general conditions associated with using computers and the Internet in the country. The survey was conducted in July 1999. Questionnaires were e-mailed to 9448 ISP members in Sri Lanka, using e-mail addresses available to us at that time. Altogether, 560 members completed and returned questionnaires via e-mail to MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science. Descriptive analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data was then conducted.
Major quantitative findings include:
*Over 60% of the respondents were members of their respective ISPs for two or less years, and over half had first used a computer sometime during the 1990-99 period.
*Sixty-two percent of the respondents had sent 10 or more e-mails per week over the past six (or less) months, and 52% had received 15 or more e-mails per week during the same period.
*Nearly half of the respondents used a computer at home, and 48% indicated 33.6K as the baud rate to connect their ISPs.
*Seventy-eight percent of the respondents spent 1-9 hours per week sending and receiving e-mails, and a large majority (68%) spent 1-9 hours surfing the Web.
*A majority of the respondents were positive about conditions in the workplace, such as the number and quality of opportunities for training and skill development, the quality of telecommunications facilities, and the quality and reliability of Internet connections.
*An overwhelming majority of the respondents indicated that ISP subscriber fees, computer hardware and software costs, and telecommunications charges were generally high.
*Most respondents were generally positive about 1) the quality of access to the Internet, 2) the quality of access to e-mails, Web pages and other Internet-based features, and 3) various benefits of Internet access.
*Seventy-one percent of the respondents were male; nearly half were younger than 35, and a large majority were educated (with at least a high school diploma.) Private company employees and people in business comprised over half of the respondents.
Major qualitative findings include:
* It is crucially important to have faster access to information, increased communication at low costs, online-education and training, and increased efficiency in business, professional and organizational activities.
* Matters of considerable concern include the low bandwidth, the high telecommunications charges, the low quality of Internet services, and the lack of organized information and databases.
* Greatly needed is a raising of awareness, a change in the current regulatory environment, an open government, and a set of local information resources to support commerce.