As part of its ongoing effort to reduce cable tangles on utility poles, the Nepal Electricity Authority on Tuesday urged internet, telephone, and cable companies to upgrade their infrastructure to advanced cable wires so that they can share infrastructure rather than having to install separate cables.
To service providers who are currently using the utility poles, the state-owned power company had earlier issued an ultimatum that ends in two days, stating that they must clear up any outstanding rent payments or their wires would be withdrawn.
A revised rental schedule for the use of the Nepal Electricity Authority’s utility poles, according to Kulman Ghising, managing director of the Nepal Electricity Authority. ‘This has not been done with the goal of charging extra money to service providers,’ says the spokesperson. In order to make use of the authority’s infrastructure, we have just published tariff guidelines.”
He went on to say that the city’s attractiveness had been tarnished as a result of poor wire management. 96 core cable wires, which are a method that allows for common sharing, will be less expensive for service providers and will assist to lower internet bills, according to the report.
Ghising claims that each internet service provider has been hanging its own wires on every pole and that there is no sharing of wires across providers. He went on to say that 95 percent of the cable wires on the poles were not in working order. In addition to the weight of the tangled cables, many of the older poles are poised to come down. It is possible to connect and share new cable lines among all users in order to avoid this type of mess, and the cost will also be reduced.”
Internet service providers asserted that the power utility would be liable if consumers were unable to access the internet as a result of the utility’s decision to remove the cables from poles.
When asked about increasing internet charges, Sudhir Parajuli of the Internet Service Providers Association of Nepal said, “We are not on the side of increasing internet charges. If the Nepal Electricity Authority cuts the lines and interrupts service, they will be held accountable.” Parajuli was speaking during an interaction in Kathmandu on Tuesday.
The Nepal Electricity Authority has stated in a notification that if internet service providers do not pay rent for the poles that they are utilising, their lines would be disconnected.
As a result, he said, “the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) and the Ministry of Communication, Information, and Technology (MCIT) have been advising internet service providers not to raise their rates until the problem has been resolved with the government.”
A significant contribution to the attempt to spread internet connection to remote areas of the country has been made possible by the installation of electricity poles by the Nepal Electricity Authority.
Until the 2018-19 fiscal year, the electricity utility charged Rs205 per pole. It intends to adjust the rate on a per-kilometer and per-pole basis, among other things. In the long run, the rental will reach Rs750 per month, which is more than 20 times the original fee, according to Parajuli. “As a result, the cost of internet will climb by Rs150 in urban areas and by up to Rs300 in rural regions,” he explained. ”
In his words, “If the authority does not cut the rent, we will have no choice but to raise the rates.” This will have an influence on the policy of the Digital Nepal Framework, which is intended to provide digital access to everyone for any purpose as a result of the higher pole rental costs.
He went on to say that fixed broadband service had been made available to 22 percent of Nepalese households, with private sector internet service providers accounting for 92 percent of this achievement. In addition, “the internet has been designated as an important service by the government,” he explained.
“Customers have expressed concern about the quality of internet connections, and one of the factors contributing to the slow connection is the presence of unmanaged cables on the poles,” he explained.
Because Nepal is a duopoly country, the rising price of internet in Nepal is also a result of the duopoly situation, as the country can only import internet from two corporations in India.” It is because of this that we are paying the highest rates for Internet connections, as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are purchasing internet at $4-5 dollars per megabit per second (mbps),” Parajuli explained.
“We are giving the service at a reasonable price, despite the fact that we have purchased internet at the maximum possible rate,” he explained. “From the time the internet is purchased until it reaches the consumer’s home, nine different taxes are put on it. According to him, because service providers are required to pay a 44 percent tax to the government, “internet cannot be offered to the general public at a reasonable price.”
Parajuli claims that the price of internet has climbed tenfold over the course of just five years, and that the amount of bandwidth consumed has increased at the same rate.
Fast internet is preferred by the majority of internet users, who choose fixed broadband.
Minister of Information and Communications, Min Prasad Aryal, stated that “there is a digital divide between urban and rural communities because the majority of service providers are concentrated in urban areas.” According to him, “we have been working with the authority to resolve the dispute over the pole lease problem, and we have also informed the government of our efforts.”
He went on to say that internet service has been established as a critical service that should not be disrupted under any circumstances.
“At a time when we are making strides toward making internet more cheap, we all have a responsibility to support it,” Aryal explained. It is his opinion that “the infrastructure of the Nepal Electricity Authority should be shared in order to assist internet service providers.” “The infrastructure must be made shareable by including the most up-to-date technology.”