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ISPAN and CAN release statement after NEA cuts internet

ISPAN (Internet service provider Association of Nepal) and CAN (Computer Association of Nepal) Federation have both released their statement over Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) cutting off the power supply of internet service providers (ISPs) which have disrupted internet services in many parts of the country.

CAN which stands for Computer Association of Nepal Federation has strongly drawn attention to NEA cutting off the power supply for ISPs. Referring to the internet being listed as an essential service in Nepal and also a human right globally, it said disrupting it under any excuse, is a serious issue.

Likewise, the federation has called on stakeholders to find a resolution soon. It said concerned bodies must take responsibility and control the situation from turning worse as internet disruption affects people, public bodies, industries, governments, etc.

Find a common understanding – CAN requests all parties to solve the issue

CAN has requested the government, the office of the PM, the Council of Ministers, MoCIT, NEA, NTA, Nepal Telecom (NTC), ISPAN, and all stakeholders to sit for dialogue and immediately find a shared understanding.

Further, it has demanded a clear policy and directives to avoid such a crisis in the future. CAN says the internet issue is directly connected to the consumers and requires coordination from the state and its organs to solve the case between NEA and ISPAN.

Also read: ISPs demand access to underground cable duct laid by NEA

ISPAN critical of NEA about hiked pole rentals

ISPAN has criticized NEA over its one-sided stance over pole rentals. Releasing its statement inits ongoing conflict with the electricity authority, it argued that NEA holds a monopoly over poles and other infrastructures and therefore has unilaterally implemented higher pole rental charges. Likewise, it drew attention to the fact that ISPs have to use OPGW, utility poles for extending their internet services.

ISPs use utility poles operated by NEA to expand internet services to their customers for which they are liable to pay fees to the authority

ISPAN says NEA disregarded the electricity regulation commission, NTA, consumer representatives, and service providers while increasing OPGW, and pole charges. Likewise, it is critical for an exceptional increase in rentals by up to 700 percent. It argues that due to it holding a monopoly, NEA hiked pole rentals as it willed.

Earlier, ISPAN held a press conference and asked for the government to intervene to ease off the situation after NEA shut down power for ISPs in many areas around the country.

Check out: NEA Sets Criteria for ISPs, ISPAN Critical Over the Letter

The hiked pole rentals would hike internet prices

ISPAN states that the hiked pole charges would eventually translate to internet price hikes for the customers. As expensive internet service goes the opposite of the Digital Nepal Framework, a high-level committee was formed to identify a common understanding between all parties. ISPAN claims that NEA also signed the report of the very committee, however, later refused to implement it. Find more: New Pole Charges by NEA will Increase Internet Prices!

Instead of conforming to the committee’s report, NEA has put pressure on ISPs to pay the hiked pole rental charges and make an agreement on the ‘suicidal’ deal. Due to the same issue, the authority has started cutting power supply to ISPs’ data centers, and operational points. ISPAN says NEA has been cutting off power supply lines incessantly around the country.

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NEA must take responsibility

ISPAN says NEA must take all the responsibility for the very essential internet service disruption. Similarly, it has appealed to ministries, agencies, and national and international human rights commissions to intervene to ensure consumer rights, and provide uninterrupted internet access.

MoCIT has already demanded that NEA should stop cutting off the power supply for ISPs. But NEA has remained firm in its action.

Many parts of the country witnessed internet disruption recently. ISPs, meanwhile have resorted to using generators to resume their services.

What’s your take on the recent escalation of events over the pole rental issue between NEA and ISPAN, and who should take responsibility for its effect on internet customers? Do leave your opinion in the comments below.

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