NT eyes huge profit from YouTube scheme

Kathmandu, February 28

Nepal Telecom (NT) is seen to be attempting to make a huge profit from its recently announced YouTube scheme for subscribers.

NT last week introduced a scheme that provides 100MB free YouTube data pack to its users who subscribe to the company’s Data Bundle Pack offer of 100MB data at Rs 75 for a period of 15 days. Similarly, it announced 200MB data at Rs 150, which includes 200MB YouTube data pack as bonus.

However, NT does not have to bear international bandwidth cost while its customers browse YouTube through the company’s network as YouTube servers are directly placed with NT and YouTube keeps a large amount of content mirrored in their servers with NT. Thus, it shows that NT is indirectly charging its customers from the YouTube browsing scheme and attempting to make a huge profit of having direct YouTube servers in Nepal.

The internet search engine giant Google, in association with NT, had installed its cache servers at NT’s Jawalakhel-based office in 2011 allowing frequent access data to be stored in cache servers. This installation of Google cache servers allows NT customers not only to access Google data faster, but also reduces NT’s bandwidth access requirement and ultimately reduces its cost.

However, NT officials deny that the scheme aims to make profit. “It is true Google cache servers are directly placed with NT. However, NT will still have to bear bandwidth cost in various ways while customers browse Google services through NT’s network,” said an official of NT, seeking anonymity.

Currently, telecom firms have been introducing different schemes aimed at making more business. As a result of weak regulatory intervention from the government, telecom operators are even violating net neutrality principles while launching consumer-centric schemes. Major telecom operators in the country like NT and Ncell are associating themselves with applications like Facebook and YouTube against the principle of net neutrality, which envisions that telecom companies should not prioritise any single application.

Officials of Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) say telecom operators are randomly introducing schemes as they do not have to seek permission from NTA to launch any scheme for a three-month period. “Telecommunication schemes basically should be based on either data pack or voice pack only. However, telecom firms are currently seen promoting particular apps in the guise of schemes which is not good,” said Ananda Raj Khanal, director of NTA.


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