Kathmandu, January 13
The commercial operation of Nepal-China optical fibre link is set to begin from February.
The Nepal-China trans-border connectivity project via Rasuwagadi is in the last stage of completion, according to Nepal Telecom (NT) officials.
“The process of laying optical fibre along the determined route has already been completed. However, recent heavy snowfall on the Chinese side caused some of the fibres to break in certain areas, which has resulted in delay in launching the project,” Shovan Adhikari, deputy spokesperson for NT told The Himalayan Times.
However, Adhikari said that the commercial operation of the cross-border optical fibre network is likely to begin from next month as Chinese authorities have expedited the process of clearing snow and repairing the damaged lines.
As soon as the snow is cleared and damaged cables are repaired, NT is expected to launch a confirmation testing of the project before starting commercial operation. NT had successfully tested the operation of the optical fibre network interconnectivity with the northern neighbour last year.
Following the commercial operation of Nepal-China optical fibre network, Nepal will be connected to the world via Hong Kong through China Telecom. As of now, Nepal is only linked to other countries through Indian telecommunication companies via different optical fibre connections at Bhairahawa, Biratnagar and Birgunj, among other checkpoints. This will also end Nepal’s sole dependence on India to connect with global telecom service.
It is said that after commencement of commercial operation of Nepal-China optical fibre link, internet service would become more qualitative and cheaper in the country. Following the commercial operation of cross-border optical fibre link, NT and China Telecom will be able to transfer or receive voice and data traffic to and from China and other countries.
Earlier, NT had planned to connect with China through optical fibre from Kathmandu to Tatopani and then to Khasa. However, the plan had to be shelved following the landslides and other destruction caused by the devastating earthquakes of 2015 on different routes. As of now, NT has already laid the optical fibre from Kathmandu to Rasuwagadi (approximately 90 kilometres) to link with China Telecom.
In December last year, Nepal Telecom and China Telecom had also inked an agreement to deliver internet protocol (IP) service in Nepal with terrestrial cable route (TCR) connecting the two nations via Jilong (Rasuwa) gateway.
A version of this article appears in print on January 14, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.