Nepal needs to wait longer to use Chinese bandwidth

- SANJEEV GIRI, Kathmandu

Jun 19, 2017-The process of acquiring internet bandwidth from China has been temporarily suspended, as the provincial government of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) has stopped laying optical fibre cable along Nepal-China border stating workers hired to complete the job were unable to work in extreme conditions.

The process of laying the cable was halted two weeks ago by the Chinese provincial government after a worker collapsed while working in high altitude, according to Nepal Telecom (NT), which entered into an agreement with China Telecom in December 2016 to acquire bandwidth.

The task of laying optical fibre cable is taking place at an altitude of around 4,000 metres and above.

NT has recently received an e-mail from the Chinese company stating the work may resume within couple of days, according to NT joint spokesperson Shobhan Adhikari said.

NT had planned to complete the work by mid-April. However, the deadline couldn’t be met after an avalanche hit the area. Subsequently, the route of laying optical fibre was changed.

The new route is longer by around 20 kilometres. It took some time for the Chinese company to design the new route. With this change in plan, the project is expected to be completed by July at the earliest.

As per Adhikari, NT has already laid optical fibre cable on the Nepal territory, and connecting this network with that of China will not be a problem once the Chinese company completes its work. 

The terrestrial cable route (TCR) connection will link Nepal with China through the Jilong Gateway. Purchasing bandwidth from China will provide an alternative source to meet the ever-growing demand for data in the country.

Experts say the opening of the Chinese gateway will not only end the monopoly of India in bandwidth supply, but help service providers here to establish connection with other countries through China. Currently, NT is buying bandwidth from several telecom service providers in India.

Internet bandwidth from China, according to NT, will help them provide better internet services, especially in the northern belt, and help reduce internet tariff.

The company plans to buy limited volume initially. After testing the speed and assessing several other aspects, the company will gradually increase the supply in the coming days. 

To ensure that Internet surfers do not face problems in accessing Google and social media sites, among others, NT is tapping Hong Kong’s server.

Following a disagreement with the Chinese government in 2010, Google had shifted its base to Hong Kong from mainland China. 

The Chinese government subsequently imposed a ban on the US-based company on the mainland.

The latest data published by the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) state that around 58 percent of the country’s population has access to internet service as of March 2017. 

As per the report of the telecommunications sector regulator, NT has 7.92 million data subscribers using GPRS, EDGE and WCDMA technology.

Published: 19-06-2017 08:30

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