The Government has started the process of providing free internet service in Valley’s public places by year-end.
The campaign to provide free internet service in Valley’s public places has been started with a view to increasing people’s access to internet and technology. Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA)—the telecoms sector regulator of the country—recently sought proposals from domestic internet service providers (ISP) to develop internet broadband network and deliver free internet service in the country’s administrative hub Singha Durbar, areas around Media Village at Sinamangal and Padma Kanya Multiple Campus in Dilibazar.
The selected ISP will have to start delivering free internet service in these places within two months of being awarded the contract by NTA and the service must be extended for a period of at least two years as stated in the Request for Application (RfA). ISPs can submit their proposals by September 18, according to NTA.
This government project of delivering free internet service in public places is certain to woo ISPs, as NTA will fully finance the project. As per the officials of NTA, this project will be awarded to ISPs on low-cost subsidy basis. That means the lowest bidding proposal will be awarded the project and it will be fully funded.
The NTA officials have planned to fund this project through the Rural Telecommunication Development Fund (RTDF) that has over NPR. 15 billion which has not been utilized yet. As mandated by the Telecommunication Act of 1997, NTA collects two percent of the gross adjusted revenue from service providers for RTDF.
The RfA has also stated that the ISP that would win the contract to deliver free internet service in the above-mentioned areas would be able to charge customers after two years, but only at a minimum rate which will be fixed by the NTA.
However, the NTA officials have left the option to the concerned ISP to deliver free internet service in such places either by creating hotspots or directly laying fiber cables.
Providing free internet service in public places across the major cities of Nepal is one of the chief projects of NTA for the ongoing fiscal. “We are giving free internet service in the three aforementioned places in the first phase of our project. We will then gradually expand this facility to other public places in the Valley and across the country,” said Min Prasad Aryal, spokesperson for NTA.
Aryal believes that delivering free internet service in public places will contribute to increasing people’s access to the internet and promoting the concept of digital Nepal.
Almost 58 percent of the total population in Nepal has access to the internet, according to NTA’s Management Information System report of 2016.
Reference: The Himalayan Times