Communication and Information Technology minister Mr. Parbat Gurung branded internet service unsatisfactory in Nepal despite the government’s continued efforts.
The minister was speaking at a policy debate on telecommunications organized by Techpana. The minister owned up to many shortcomings surrounding the telecommunications service in Nepal that is affecting its services. However, he also expressed the determination to improve the telecom infrastructure services in the country.
Mr. Gurung pointed out the need for a systematic improvement with a sustainable vision from the government. He expressed the belief that the proper management of telecom services would also compliment the economic prosperity of the country.
The minister voiced his concern that the investments are not rewarding with quality service. He also spoke of “lack of coordination with ISPs in Nepal. The cables in urban areas are dangling at utility poles. the government is working on it.”
The minister was very candid and pointed out various loopholes obstructing the development of telecom services in the county. He pointed out the issues of duplication and tax evasion that could result in an economic disparity in the absence of strict regulation from authorities.
He believes that if the status-quo stays, it would help the rich stay rich and the poor will slide further backward.
As for measures, he said “the government will improve upon the traditional telecom policies with a new set of regulations. This will bring huge reformations and sort out many issues immediately.”
He also talked about the need for the improvement of internet connectivity. He admitted to the hearsay that the internet quality is not up to par despite heavy investments from all parties. Adding to it, the minister pointed out that expanding the telecom service comprises some issues and will still take some time.
The minister however expressed the commitment that the government will gradually improve and expand the latest telecom services in the present and future.
There is a long sustained talk of lowering the internet bills in Nepal. And the issue was also raised in the event. It was revealed that NTA is coordinating with other telecom and ISPs in Nepal to draw a conclusive policy regarding internet tariff for the end consumers.
Ncell Axiata CEO Mr. Andy Chong was also among the attendee at the event. The CEO suggested that the government should consider bilateral agreements and improve telecom policies to render the products and services cost-friendly.
ISPAN Chief Sudhir Prajuli was also at the event. He stated that the 20% tax imposed on licenses for telecommunications has created the monopoly of Ncell and Nepal Telecom. He called for a lesser aggressive tax policy from the government to create a more competitive environment so that more investors would contest for quality service.
Economist Binisha Nepal expressed her wish that the government include a digital literacy program in its policy to acquaint Nepalese with various pros/cons and premises about the use of the internet in today’s age.
What do you think of Nepal’s telecommunication services? It is not common that a minister himself admits the service to be inadequate. However, are you satisfied with the efforts from the government to sort out the issue? How has your experience been with telecom services around the country? let us know in the comments section below.