Quake-hit districts to get broadband internet

- Post Report, Kathmandu
The initiative taken by NTA to connect earthquake impacted districts with high-speed internet is in line with directive set by the government last year

Jun 18, 2017-The Nepal Telecommuni-cations Authority (NTA) has expedited the process of connecting 11 out of 14 earthquake affected districts with broadband internet. According to telecommunications sector regulator, the process is expected to be completed within a year. 

Leading Internet Service Providers (ISP) Subisu Cable Net, Mercantile Communications and state-run telecommunications service provider Nepal Telecom (NT) have been roped in for undertaking the task. According to NTA, NT and Subisu have been assigned to extend the network in four districts each while Mercantile will be working in three districts. 

Subisu will set up infrastructure and operate broadband internet service in Gorkha, Dhading and Makawanpur district while Mercantile Communications has been roped in for expansion of broadband network in Dolakha, Ramechhap, Sindhuli and Okhaldhunga districts. NT is working in Sindhupalchwok, Kavrepalanchwok, Rasuwa and Nuwakot districts. 

Separate agreements have been signed by NTA with each of the ISPs to perform the task; NT at a cost of Rs211.6 million, Subisu at Rs207.08 million and Rs235 million with Mercantile. 

The initiative taken by NTA to connect earthquake impacted districts with high-speed internet is in line with directive set by the Ministry of Information and Communications last year. The budget for the fiscal year 2017-18 has also put emphasis on this matter.  

“All the district headquarters, municipalities and rural municipalities will be connected by optical fiber laid down beside the national highways and road connecting district headquarters within two years. Broadband Internet Service will be expanded to ward-level,” reads the budget unveiled by former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara. 

The budget for the fiscal year 2017-18 has allocated Rs4.98 billion for Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) development and has set ambitious target of connecting the entire nation with broadband internet service within two years. 

“Broadband internet in 11 earthquake districts is one of the focal components under our plan of connecting the entire nation in broadband network,” NTA Chairman Digambar Jha said adding that the task of connecting earthquake affected districts with high-speed internet is on track and will be completed within a year. 

The NTA, which collects two percent of gross adjusted revenue as a Rural Telecommunication Development Fund (RTDF) every year from the service providers in telecommunications sector has stated that a part of RTDF has been mobilised for building the broadband network and providing internet access connectivity service in earthquake impacted districts. 

As per the terms and conditions set by the NTA, service providers are supposed to install broadband access equipment and provide internet to public colleges, higher secondary schools, secondary schools, health centers and offices of village council. 

“We will not just connect broadband internet but urge line ministries to develop relevant and useful content for boosting positive outcome,” Jha said. 

Apart from earthquake affected districts, the NTA has designated Nepal Telecom to lay optical fibre network in province 1, 2 and 3 (from Panchthar in the east to Dhading) and United Telecom Limited in province 4 and 5 (from Gorkha to Rukum). 

Published: 18-06-2017 08:27

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