Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) has written a letter to the Ministry of Communication, Information, and Technology (MoCIT) over the act of cutting off internet cable calling it a human rights violation.
The authority has also urged the ministry to help resolve the issue.
Earlier, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) started cutting power supply cables off ISPs leading to an internet outage in some areas. Companies fell back on their backup to continue serving their customers but the standoff continues over the removal of messy cables from the poles. The lack of coordination and a common resolution has led to months of uncertainty over the solution to the issue.
Due to NEA cutting entangled wires, many users suffered from internet disconnection in many parts of the country. NTA says the incident has strongly drawn its attraction.
NEA has drawn ire from various bodies over cable-cutting issues. In April, CAN, NTA, and ISPAN condemned its action for cutting off fiber cables.
Just a week before, Nta again warned NEA about its discontinuing the power supply of ISPs. This resulted in the disruption of the internet service for many customers.
Nta sent a letter to MoCIT and declared the cutting of internet cable a human rights violation
The regulator sees the act as breaching human rights. In its letter, it has made the ministry aware that the government has included telecom services in essential services, and internationally, telecom service is seen as a human right.
“As per the existing Telecommunication Act, 2053, no one can disrupt the service by affecting the telecommunication infrastructure. There is also a provision of punishment up to imprisonment for those who commit such an act. stating that when the essential telecommunication service is interrupted, the service received by the consumer, the impact on the business based on information technology, and also the right of the citizens to use the communication service uninterrupted gets affected. Therefore, it seems that there is an immediate need for an intervention to stop such actions,” the authority said in the letter.
NTA being the regulator for the telecom industry has long urged the ministry to help find an understanding.
A notice has been sent to many state organs
The authority has given notice of the letter sent to the Ministry to the Office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources and Irrigation, the National Human Rights Commission as well as Spain.
ISPAN earlier had complained that NEA sent a direct letter to it instead of the regulator. The association felt that the electricity authority was imposing itself on service providers.
NEA on the other hand had issued an ultimatum to service providers with criteria on the use of poles. In response, ISPs did start removing dangling messy cables however, it was ineffective and lacked sustenance.
United Nations has declared internet access as a human right in 2016. It states that an attempt to hinder access or dissemination of information online is a form of violation of international human rights law.
NEA has argued that unnecessary cables are harming the beauty of the city and are a cause for risks and hence need to be removed.
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