Nepal connects to the SASEC information highway. SASEC information highway spans integrated optical fiber network among South Asian countries Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Bhutan. After the implementation of SASEC project, it will help to reduce the internet costs, expand broadband connectivity to rural areas. It will also enable collaboration and information / knowledge flow among communities in those countries.
According to Ministry of Information and Communication, all the civil works and testing of the network has been completed. They also say it will be handed over to Ntc (Nepal Telecom) within this year and the preparation of economic, technical report is underway for handover. After the handover to Ntc, the connectivity will start to operate for its original mission.
Earlier Four countries Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal have agreed to collaborate on sub regional level communication technology (ICT) project to improve connectivity among the four countries. These countries will soon perform operational agreement which has been pending due to Nepal’s elections.
What is SASEC information highway?
SASEC stands for South Asia Sub-regional economic co-operation. Asian Development Bank (ADB) has funded the multiple country investment project. The project was envisaged in 2007 and was put into paper in 2009.
The main purpose of the SASEC project is
to promote closer cooperation for development and applications of ICT, and
to improve social and economic participation through better access to appropriate support and infrastructure.
Five major areas for ICT regional cooperation include:
enhancement of regional connectivity via high-bandwidth connections among SASEC countries;
establishment of community e-centers (CeCs);
promotion of information sharing and human resources development in the ICT sector;
strengthening and harmonization of regulations in the ICT sector;
development of software tools to enhance digital content available over the internet, regardless of language.
SASEC in Nepal
With the ADB fund of Rs 855 million and 210 million by Nepal government, Nepal completes the SASEC project in Nepal. There are information highway centers in Kavre, Dhalkebar and Biratnagar. There is a separate 170 km optical fiber connection from Dhulikhel to Dhalkebar through BP highway. Whereas from Dhalkebar, SASEC information highway uses East West optical link along the Mahendra highway. The information highway connects from Biratnagar to Chennai through Silgudi and Calcutta.
To use the information highway, major telecom operators in those countries, Nepal Telecom, BSNL, BTCL and Bhutan Telecom has already made an agreement.
CECs in Nepal
The information highway includes Community e-centers (CeCs) in several parts of Kavre, Sindhuli, Mahottari, Siraha, Sunsari Districts. Once the link between these CeCs are operational, it will facilitate the flow and integration of information, knowledge, and services among member countries and communities.
Impact on Nepal
As known, the SASEC project will help to reduce the costs for phone and internet in these countries by 30 percent. It is specially beneficial to the landlocked countries like Nepal and Bhutan to make the internet affordable. After the implementation, it will also build the SASEC village network to expand broadband wireless connectivity to rural communities and enable them to better access services such as tele-medicine, distance learning, and e-government services.
All in all, SASEC project will help to enhance collaboration among these countries for different areas like ICT, tourism and transportation.