Kathmandu, July 16
While the government has been promising to provide cheap internet and free wi-fi services, the internet cost will be raised by 13 per cent by the internet service providers (ISP) from Wednesday.
As the government and ISPs have failed to come to a mutual understanding to provide lowcost internet service, the hiked price will be implemented from Wednesday.
According to the recent announcement of the Internet Service Providers Association of Nepal (ISPAN), now the internet users will have to pay extra 13 per cent value added tax (VAT) on their regular bill.
With this increment, internet subscribers will have to bear an additional burden of at least Rs 100 on a minimum package, while other internet packages will be costlier depending on the type of internet package.
Earlier too, the ISPs had raised the internet fee by 13 per cent on July 26, 2018 as the government had announced it would charge them 13 per cent telecommunication service charge (TSC). Back then, the government had been hugely criticised by consumers for taking this decision. Later, the ISPs revoked their decision after the government assured that it would provide 6.5 per cent subsidy on TSC and also waive TSC on internet wires and routers, leased line data connectivity and repair cost.
However, citing that the government had failed to keep its promise of subsidising the ISPs, they have again decided to implement the 13 per cent VAT on internet fee. According to ISPAN, the government had assured them that it would share half of TSC burden imposed on internet services. Till fiscal 2017-18, the government used to charge only 11 per cent tax on the service providers. But from fiscal 2018- 19, the government had decided to increase TSC from 11 per cent to 13 per cent, following which the ISPs decided to increase the service charge for customers.
ISPAN has also said that despite holding several rounds of discussions with the Ministry of Information and Communication, their request has been ignored.
Hence, the ISPs have no option other than to raise the internet fee, it stated.
A version of this article appears in print on July 17, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.