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Cables to Go Underground in Kathmandu, What for ISPs?

NEA has announced it will lay aerial cables/wires underground after six months. The move could project another cause for worry to the ISPs as they solely rely on utility poles for their service. ISPAN which represents ISPs in Nepal is already at war with the NEA over utility rental payments.

NEA Director Kulman Ghising made revealed the sensational news at an interactive event on the contribution and challenges of electricity-related infrastructure to internet service expansion.

This is also likely to cause ISPs another reason for dialogue with Nepal Electricity Authority as they depend on utility poles to provide their fixed-line internet service.

Nepal Electricity Authority has been laying distribution lines in the metropolitan for a while. The authority wants to completely keep the city off overhead cables in an attempt to “clean up” the city.

The clutter of cables on utility poles has long drawn the attention of the people with many arguing it’s defacing the beauty of the capital. Add to it the risk of entangled cables, people have long demanded that the cables be installed underneath to keep the city clean and avert any possible risk from electrocution and other hazards.

But this move by NEA could hurt internet service providers (ISPs) in Nepal. ISPs already in conflict over poles’ rental charges now have to come up with a plan to get along with NEA.

Also see: NEA Starts Call Center to Address Customer Issues

With cables going underground, NEA and ISPs Must Cooperate

Removing poles will particularly influence ISPs as their cables run on poles for fiber internet services. But with NEA’s power lines going underground, ISPs also need to cooperate.

NEA Executive Director Kulman Ghising says that when the authority starts removing poles, internet cables will also be removed. Speaking at the occasion, Ghising requested ISPs to start using fiber ducts installed with the underground distribution line.

Earlier, Ghising revealed that NEA had installed three fiber ducts with underground distribution lines. He also acknowledged the need to talk and plan on how to go forward with the use of the ducts underground.

“We are removing electricity poles within six months to a year,” Ghising said. “Then there could be a serious problem. So, we need to make plans on its uses. We also need to conclude at which spots structures should be built,” he added.

Check out: How to pay NEA Electricity Bills online in Nepal?

NEA is ready to sit with ISPs to find a resolution

NEA and ISPs’ long standoff over poles’ rental charges has spilled to the surface and accelerated over months. The former has even cut off fiber cables and switched off the power supply to bring ISPs to their heels. However, the conflict has not yet found a resolution with both sides waiting for the other to flinch first.

But what should be a soft display of Ghising over the issue on poles charges, he stressed a collective effort to find a common understanding. He even added that NEA is ready to sit with ISPAN to find a common resolution.

Ghising also stated that NEA will seek a license for Telecommunications Infrastructure Company.

“We have provided poles, OPGW cable, etc to facilitate telecom services. Hiking rental charges were part of our plan to ‘infrastructures sharing’ and reduce entangled cables in the city,” Ghising said.  

He later said it was time to share telecom infrastructure.

NEA is investing a total of NPR 15 billion to lay underground cables.

With cables going underground, NEA and ISP could finally come to talk and find the resolve to end their conflict. Besides, ugly and entangled cables going off the hooks will help Kathmandu retain some of its beauty and avoid some risks coming from risky cables. How do you see this decision by NEA? Do leave a comment below.

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