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NT likely to gain access to Chinese bandwidth in May

- SANJEEV GIRI, Kathmandu
The state-run telecom service provider had entered into an agreement with China Telecom in December 2016

Mar 19, 2017-

Nepal Telecom (NT) is likely to start purchasing internet bandwidth from China in the first week of May, providing the country an alternative source to meet the ever-growing demand for data.

The state-run telecommunications service provider had entered into an agreement with China Telecom to acquire bandwidth in December 2016. 

The opening of the Chinese gateway, according to telecom officials, will not only end the monopoly of India in bandwidth supply, but help service providers here to establish connection with other countries through China. The terrestrial cable route (TCR) connection will link Nepal with China through Jilong Gateway. Currently, NT is buying bandwidth from several telecom service providers in India.

Although NT had entered into a bandwidth purchase agreement with the Chinese company around three-and-a-half months ago, it has not been able to acquire data till date because of an avalanche that hit the area where optical fibres are being laid, according to Shobhan Adhikari, joint spokesperson of NT.

“The avalanche disrupted connections on the Chinese side,” Adhikari said. “It is difficult to reinstate the connection because of thick snow in the area.” 

Realising the difficulties, the Chinese side has now used an alternative route to lay down the cable. The new route is 20 kilometres longer. 

“We had conducted a test in the previous network,” Adhikari said, adding, “We will have to repeat the process again in the new route.”

The state-run telecom service provider has stated that the Chinese company will complete the task of laying the cable by mid-April. NT will then need another one to two weeks to commence operation of the system.  

Though NT is buying bandwidth from China, internet users here will not face problems while surfing Google’s sites, as Nepal will be tapping Hong Kong’s server to get the data. Following a tiff with the Chinese government in 2010, the US-based company had shifted its base to Hong Kong from mainland China. The Chinese government, subsequently, imposed a ban on Google in the mainland. 

“Many people have this query about using Google’s sites. Since we’ll be using server located in Hong Kong, people won’t be barred from gaining access to certain sites,” Adhikari said, adding, the internet bandwidth from China will help NT to provide better internet services, especially in the northern belt, and help reduce internet tariff.

 “Initially, we will buy limited volume of internet bandwidth from China. Based on the feedback and performance, we will gradually increase the supply in the coming days.”

Published: 19-03-2017 10:46

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