Optical fibre link with China delayed till May

Kathmandu, March 22

The commercial operation of the much-awaited Nepal-China optical fibre link has yet again been delayed till May following continuous snowfall on the Chinese side hindering the fibre maintenance process.

Shovan Adhikari, deputy spokesperson for Nepal Telecom (NT), informed the technical team of China Telecom has notified NT that cable repairing process of the Nepal-China trans-border internet connectivity project via Rasuwagadi would be delayed till May.

“NT has been informed that unfavourable weather in Lhasa areas of China and piled up snow along the determined route of the project and sporadic landslides along the route have hampered the cable maintenance work. As per China Telecom, maintenance work will begin only after snow has melted completely,” Adhikari said.

Though NT and China Telecom had agreed to operate the cross-border internet link by December last year, the project was delayed till February following damage in already laid optical fibre and obstruction for its repair by snowfall.

As soon as the repair works of the project are completed, NT will launch a testing confirmation of the optical fibre link before starting commercial operation, according to Adhikari.

The commercial operation of Nepal-China optical fibre will enable Nepal to connect to the world via Hong Kong through China Telecom. Currently, Nepal is linked to global internet connectivity through Indian telecom operators via different optical fibre connections in Biratnagar, Bhairahawa, Birgunj, among others. Operation of the project will also end Nepal’s dependency on India to connect with global telecom services.

Earlier, NT had planned to lay optical fibre from Kathmandu to Tatopani and then to Khasa. However, the plan was affected following the landslides and other destruction caused on different routes by the devastating earthquakes of 2015. Following this, NT had then laid the optical fibre from Kathmandu to Rasuwagadi (approximately 90 kilometres) to link with China Telecom.

NT officials have said that internet service in Nepal will be comparatively cheaper and qualitative after commencement of the project. The link will allow NT and China Telecom to transfer or receive voice and data traffic to and from China and other nations.