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Telecom Regulator NTA to Take Action Against Three ISPs

Telecom regulator Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) could take action against three internet service providers (ISPs).

ISPs Websurfer Nepal Communication, Airlink Communication Service Provider, and Nepal Digital Service Pvt. Ltd. will come under scrutiny by the regulator after they were found to be entangled in services themselves deemed not in line with NTA’s regulations. The regulator will take action against all these ISPs at once.

The case came into being after Nta conducted a field inspection of Airlink Communication. It was monitoring if the ISP was running its services as per the terms in the license agreement.

But the regulator found it to be violating its terms. It also found that Airlink had signed an agreement to buy CDN (Content Delivery Network) for local bandwidth from Websurfer. Besides, it was to buy international bandwidth from Nepal Digital Service.

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NTA punishing ISPs for violating terms

Although the local bandwidth and international bandwidth were purchased from different companies, it has been found that the web surfer has taken the international bandwidth through Nepal Digital Service and paid with its own bill with Airlink Pvt.

Airlink did purchase local and international bandwidth from separate companies. However, it was found that Websurfer bought international bandwidth from Nepal Digital Services and made transactions with Airlink in its own books.

Since the ISP made agreements with separate companies but made transactions via a single company, Nta had stepped in. The regulator sought clarification three years ago on why it should not take action against the ISPs as per the Telecommunications Act 053, Section 47 (2).  

But citing unconvincing responses by the ISPs, NTA has said it will take against them.

Also read: NTA and NTA Row Over VSAT Frequency Use Without Approval

What are the repercussions?

Nta has declared it will charge fines to the responsible companies. Airlink will now have to pay 50 thousand as per the Telecommunications Act 053, Section 17 (2). Likewise, Websurfer Nepal and Nepal Digital Service will also pay a fine as per section 47 (1). Both these service providers will also pay 50 thousand in fines to the regulator.

What is in the Act?

NTA is taking legal action against ISPs as per the Telecommunications Act, 053 chapter 47. In essence, section 47 includes provisions regarding punishment on persons or companies upon violation of regulations. Subsection 1 states that for any company that fails to uphold orders or directives, the authority will award a fine of 50 thousand rupees.

Similarly, sub-section 2 states that if any person operates telecom service without a license could pay fines up to 5 lakh and stop such an act.

The ISPs are facing actions as per subsections 1 and 2 of section 47.

However, these companies can also appeal against the ruling. Section 48 states that any party not satisfied with the verdict can appeal within 35 days to the prescribed committee. The decision of such a committee will be final in regard to the appeal. Don’t miss: Mobile Service Below Standards, NTA’s Drive Test Finds

But we need to wait and see if the ISPs decide to contest the decision by NTA.

What is your view on ISPs violating the terms of the agreement with NTA? Should the regulator be harsh with action or be lenient? Do leave your opinion in the comments below.

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