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WorldLink secures huge fund from UK’s CDC group

Nepal’s Leading Internet Service provider (ISP) WorldLink gets a huge fund in the name of Foreign Direct investment (FDI) from CDC group of UK. The investment amount is about 12 million dollar which is 1 billion and 350 million (135 crore) in Nepali rupees. The investment has been done by a UK’s developement finance institution called CDC group.

It can be frustrating months ahead for the UK government to take the nation towards Brexit, amidst the parliamentary challenges. The business community in the UK have been more than scared to imagine the consequences of leaving the EU, given that they lose the advantage of being in the EU.

CDC Group, however, has hinted paradigm shift in the UK’s investment and business landscape. Foreign investment done in the Least Developed Country (LDC) has already painted their face as ‘hero’. And they have taken that opportunity to mention Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their website.

Whopping investment

As per the published figure, their investment amounts 135 crores Nepali Rupees. With this, Worldlink is expected to aggressively expand the internet network throughout the nation reaching out the most marginalised areas that can have potential entrepreneurs and layman, who get benefit of information revolution.

Worldlink ISP

This makes Wordlink the first internet company to secure foreign investment. CDC group has made the investment in Worldlink as an equity share. As known, CDC group will have 10 percent share in the company. This will help the company to achieve their ambitious project of expanding internet services to all parts of the country.  The current funding is CDC’s second investment here in Nepal. The first one is the three year loan of US$15 million to one of the leading bank NMB bank.

CDC group writes in their annoucement as, “Compared to other countries in Asia, access to digital services remains low in Nepal and presents a real challenge for most of the country’s communities and the  development of businesses. Improving access to affordable and quality internet is central to Nepal’s development and economic growth, and a key part of UN Sustainable Development Goal 9.”

About WorldLink

WorldLink is already the largest ISP by subscribers and also by network. It has laid more than 8000 km of optical fiber and provided service to the remotest places of Nepal. Before WorldLink had also partnered with Nokia to build first 100 Gbps optical network. WorldLink had also won a Rural Telecommunication fund (RTDF) project to expand internet service in Karnali province. Karnali province having a remote mountaineous and arduous terrain, would definitely benefit with the dedicated works of WorldLink for internet expansion.

Funding and Assistance

The nation wide expansion backed up by CDC group will help WorldLink reach more remote places with a reliable internet connection. Communication to such places will stir the businesses growth and also the economy there. As known, CDC will also assist in hiring and training of employees. They aim to develop skilled manpower and make them aware of health and safety standards. Source

Challenges

The challenges for WorldLink can be the question on sheer amount of new business opportunities given that infrastructural challenges and rival companies can not be ruled out in a nation with relatively stable and liberal political economy.

Technology

We had heard news of ISP’s like WorldLink demanding to get frequency spectrum to operate wireless broadband service. With such big investment, they might opt for wireless broadband services like 4G if they ever get the spectrum from a very unyielding spectrum auction. Their current technology for the internet service expansion is based more on optical fiber and a little on wireless access. WorldLink also has the largest WiFi network here in Nepal, covering popular heritage sites, Airports, Restaurants, and more public places.

Dileep Agrawal, Managing Director, WorldLink said:We feel honoured to be the first CDC equity investment in Nepal. It is a recognition of our 24 years’ hard work and commitment to Nepal’s internet and telecoms industry. With CDC’s backing, our ambition is to transform Worldlink into a world-class company that will serve as a model and inspiration to other companies in Nepal. Our partnership will accelerate our pursuit to connect everyone, anywhere, all the time.

Lisa Honan, Head of Office, DFID Nepal said:DFID has a long history of helping connect Nepal’s most remote villages to the rest of the country through roads and bridges, to support Nepal’s economic growth. I know that this access has worked wonders to unlock the potential of these places. The benefits of dependable internet access in rural Nepal are immense, ranging from improved health services, education, access to information and financial services and connection between people and businesses. I’m excited to see what changes this new initiative between CDC group and WorldLink will bring for Nepal.”

Tell us what do you think of UK CDC group investment/fund in WorldLink? Comment below.

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