NT’s optical fibre project likely to face delays

Kathmandu, April 6

More than six months since the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) authorised Nepal Telecom (NT) to lay optical fibre along the Mid-Hill Highway within two years, the latter has not yet even finalised the bidding process for the project.

NTA and NT had signed an agreement on September 28 last year to lay optical fibre along 2,376 kilometres of the Mid-Hill Highway covering 32 districts. As per the agreement, NT has been authorised to complete the project within two years and NTA would bear all the cost of the project through Rural Telecommunication Development Fund (RTDF). However, the delay in bidding process by NT has raised questions over completion of the project within the designated time.

Till date, NT has only announced global tender for the procurement of tower and radio equipment. NT is yet to call tender for the procurement of fibre equipment.

“We will shortly analyse applications submitted by different parties to procure tower and radio equipment. NT is also in the last stage of publishing notice for the procurement of fibre equipment,” said Shovan Adhikari, joint spokesperson for NT, adding that NT will accelerate works to complete the project to lay optical fibre along Mid-Hill Highway on time.

According to Adhikari, the bidding works of the project will be completed within less than a month.

Meanwhile, NTA Spokesperson Min Prasad Aryal said that NTA is closely watching the progress being made in Mid-Hill Highway Optical Fibre Project and will soon ask NT to submit its progress report to NTA. “This project is one of major projects initiated by NTA. NT should complete the project on time and any delay in the project (without logical reason) will not be entertained,” Aryal said.

Under the project, NT will have to lay optical fibre cable in areas stretching from Chiyo Bhanjyang in Panchthar district to Arughat in Gorkha district. Similarly, NT will have to lay 96 core optical fibre cables along the Mid-Hill Highway and 48 core optical fibre cables along routes connecting the highway with the headquarters of 32 different districts. Likewise, the project envisions laying 24 core optical fibre cables in routes that connects Mid-Hill Highway with different municipalities in these districts.

This government project is targeted to expand broadband network across all district headquarters, municipalities, schools and health centres.