Telecom regulator to hire consultant to monitor broadband projects funded through RTDF

Kathmandu, January 9

Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) is set to hire a consulting firm to monitor the projects under NTA's Rural Telecommunications Development Fund (RTDF).

The telecommunication sector regulator of the country recently invited expression of interest (EoI) from interested firms to monitor, evaluate and certify the progress of RTDF-funded projects.

“As NTA lacks enough manpower and expertise to monitor and evaluate project progress, we decided to hire a consulting company for this purpose. The hired consultant will basically render professional services for evaluation, monitoring and certification of RTDF-funded broadband projects initiated by NTA,” said Min Prasad Aryal, spokesperson for NTA.

NTA has been developing 18 broadband internet projects under RTDF in rural parts of the country. With an intention to mobilise RTDF and increase people's access to internet, NTA has awarded all 18 such projects to internet service providers (ISPs). Under these projects, ISPs are required to expand broadband internet service in the government offices, particularly in all rural municipalities across the country, schools, hospitals, public places and rural areas across all 14 earthquake-affected districts within mid-July this year.

NTA has been providing budget for ISPs to render broadband internet services in these places.

“All ISPs that have been undertaking RTDF-funded projects of NTA are required to submit progress report to NTA on a regular basis. The consulting firm will basically evaluate work progress of these projects and report to NTA,” said Aryal.

NTA has been collecting two per cent of income from telecom service providers for RTDF.

As per NTA, more than Rs 16 billion has been collected in RTDF so far. Besides connecting schools, hospitals, rural community service centres, village level administrative units and new urban centres across the country, NTA has been mobilising RTDF for district-level optical fibre network connectivity project through Mid-Hill Highway, establishment or erection of towers including their operation and maintenance, making ICT accessible for people with disability.

As per NTA's terms of reference, consultant shall establish a method to monitor and evaluate implementation of broadband internet network and submit progress report of different projects to NTA in different phases. The selected firm has to provide consultancy service to NTA for at least two years.