Broadband connectivity in seven quake-hit districts within a year

Kathmandu, November 23

The government is all set to take the high-speed broadband connectivity internet service to seven different earthquake-hit districts within a year.

Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) — the telecommunications regulator of the country — last Thursday sought applications from internet service providers (ISPs) to build broadband network and provide internet access connectivity services in Gorkha, Dhading, Makawanpur, Dolakha, Rasuwa, Sindhuli and Okhaldhunga.

Two ISPs that submit a proposal to provide internet services in these districts at the lowest cost will be allowed to provide broadband connectivity, according to NTA officials.

According to NTA, the selected ISPs will have to take broadband internet facilities to every village development committee (VDC) in these districts, district headquarters, health posts, hospitals and educational institutions, among others.

Meanwhile, NTA will also provide budget to the selected ISPs to build broadband infrastructure in these districts from Rural Telecommunication Development Fund (RTDF). NTA has introduced two different packages, under which ISPs providing broadband in four districts will be awarded Rs seven million to develop broadband infrastructure and the ISP developing broadband in three districts will be granted Rs six million.

“We want the development of broadband internet services in earthquake-hit districts and reconstruction works after earthquake to go hand in hand. The selected ISPs will have to take this high-speed internet facility to these districts within a year,” NTA Chairman Digambar Jha said.

According to Jha, NTA is supporting ISPs to develop broadband infrastructure after ISPs were seen reluctant to take internet services to rural areas. “ISPs are reluctant to go to rural areas as internet infrastructure is not sound in such areas and service-seekers are few in number,” Jha said, adding that NTA is supporting ISPs to develop infrastructure so that they would be encouraged to offer high-speed internet services in rural parts of the country.

There are currently 40 internet service providers in Nepal.

Meanwhile, Nepal Telecom has already been authorised by government to take broadband internet facility to Sindhupalchowk, Kavrepalanchowk, Rasuwa and Nuwakot — the four other earthquake affected districts. Jha informed that the Ministry of Information and Communications has directed NT to take broadband high-speed internet to VDCs in these districts, district headquarters, health posts, hospitals and educational institutions in these districts within a year.