WorldLink, Mercantile submit proposal to NTA

Kathmandu, June 16

Two internet Service Providers (ISPs) — WorldLink and Mercantile Communications Private Ltd — have submitted applications at Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) to expand broadband service in Province No 6.

In April 20, NTA had sought applications from interested ISPs to lay broadband internet network in Province No 6 that includes Jumla, Humla, Mugu, Dolpa, Kalikot, Rukum, Rolpa and Jajarkot districts.

“WorldLink and Mercantile have recently submitted their applications to expand the broadband internet in districts of Province No 6. A technical committee of NTA is currently analysing their proposals and will soon award the broadband project to one ISP,” Min Prasad Aryal, spokesperson for NTA, informed.

NTA had called for proposals from interested ISPs for the broadband project in Province No 6 in two packages, with the first package covering Humla, Jumla, Mugu and Dolpa and the second covering Kalikot, Rukum, Jajarkot and Rolpa. NTA had set price cap of each package at Rs 300 million. However, these ISPs have submitted applications to complete each package for much lesser amount.

“While these ISPs have submitted application to expand broadband internet in Humla, Jumla, Mugu and Dolpa for around Rs 200 million (package A), they have proposed to complete the broadband project in Kalikot, Rukum, Jajarkot and Rolpa (package B) for almost Rs 240 million,” Aryal said.

Meanwhile, a source at NTA informed that among the two bidders, WorldLink has submitted the proposal to complete these internet packages at comparatively lower cost.

While seeking applications from interested ISPs in different provinces, NTA had mentioned that ISPs should complete each project within one year of being awarded the contract. Similarly, they will also have to deliver free internet services to customers in the region for at least two years. ISPs that have been awarded the broadband projects are also obliged to expand broadband internet connection in every district headquarter, municipality, village development committee (VDC), education institution, health institution and public area, among others.

As a part of expanding broadband internet across all VDCs by 2020, NTA had awarded a contract worth Rs four billion to Nepal Telecom to lay optical fibre along the Mid-Hill Highway in September last year. Similarly, NTA has already awarded United Telecom Ltd (UTL) to lay optical fibre in different parts of Provinces 4 and 5.

NTA is funding these projects from the Rural Telecommunications Development Fund (RTDF).