NT claims Mid-Hill optical fibre project will meet set deadline

Kathmandu, October 26

Nepal Telecom (NT) has claimed that almost 70 per cent of the works to lay optical fibre along the Mid-Hill Highway has been completed and that the project is on track to be concluded within the designated time.

As per the agreement signed with Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) on September 28 last year, NT will have to complete the project within two years, that is, September of 2018.

“A wrong message has been delivered in the market that NT is facing delays in implementing the Mid-Hill optical fibre project. However, the project is running as per schedule and almost 70 per cent of the works of the project has been completed,” said Kamini Rajbhandari, managing director of NT.

Informing that NT is soon to conclude all the bidding processes for the project, Rajbhandari said that NT will complete the project within the given timeframe.

“A few decisions regarding the tender and equipment procurement of the project have to be made by the NT board. As soon as the board gives the related approvals, the remaining works will also

be expedited,” added Rajbhandari.

As of now, NT has announced the global tender for the procurement of tower and radio equipment required for the optical fibre laying process and is currently evaluating applications of different bidders.

However, NT has not been able to call tender for the procurement of fibre equipment so far.

NT is expected to call the tender for the procurement of fibre equipment once it gets approval from the board.

Besides this, NT has already completed the detailed site survey of the project, according to Rajbhandari.

The project stretches over 2,376 kilometres along the Mid-Hill Highway, covering 32 districts. NT is required to lay optical fibre along this route while the telecom sector regulator, NTA, will bear the entire cost of the project through Rural Telecommunication Development Fund (RTDF).

As per the agreement signed with NTA, NT will have to lay optical fibres in areas stretching from Chiyo Bhanjyang in Panchthar district to Arughat in Gorkha district. While NT will have to lay 96-core optical fibre cables along the Mid-Hill Highway, 48-core optical fibre cables will be laid along routes connecting the highway with the headquarters of 32 different districts.

Similarly, the project has also envisioned laying 24-core optical fibre cables in routes that connect Mid-Hill Highway with different municipalities in these districts.

Prativa Vaidya, spokesperson for NT, said that lengthy legal procedures have been a setback to execute the project properly. “We are in the last stage of calling the tender for procurement of fibre equipment. Once the selected company starts supplying the equipment, the process to lay the optical fibre cables will move ahead,” said Vaidya.

As per Vaidya, NT is also mulling over giving momentum to the project by using NT’s own existing fibre equipment in case the tendering process of the procurement of fibre equipment is delayed.

Meanwhile, NTA has said that it is closely watching the progress being made in Mid-Hill Highway Optical Fibre Project and also informed that NT is obliged to complete the project within the given time.