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Supreme Court Orders NEA to stop cutting fiber internet Cables

Supreme Court has ordered Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to stop its act of cutting off fiber internet cables that risked internet disruption to many paying customers across the country. A single bench of Patan High Court Judge Dipendra Bahadur Bam gave the short-term interim order on Wednesday, Falgun 3.

Earlier, the Internet Service Providers Association of Nepal (ISPAN) demanded an interim decision from the court regarding the matter. A hearing is scheduled for that on Falgun 16.

Until that period, the court has issued a short-term interim order demanding that it does not immediately cut off internet cables or block the internet service.

The body went to court after the electricity authority continued cutting off fiber cables or power supply to service providers’ equipment over the pole rental charges. As a result, many customers in various parts of the country suffered network outages. Besides, ISPs had to use the backup for power supply to continue their services.

Entangled cables wires in Ktm
ISPs use Nea-operated utility poles to run their services, its umbrella body ISPAN has protested the authority’s latest pole rental charges

Previously, Nta also warned that disrupting internet service was an act of human rights violation. ISPAN has continuously demanded a high-level government intervention in the case. The association has warned that NEA’s insistence on its high pole charges could push it out of the business. The electricity authority, however, has remained consistently firm in its stance. It also reasons that cable management works are necessary to beautify the city and avert possible safety hazards.

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

Supreme Court orders NEA to stop cutting off fiber cables, a response asked within 15 days

The court has also asked the defendant party to submit a written response by themselves or through a legal representative within 15 days to counter the requested interim order.  

Advocates Anjan Dhital, Jayalal Bhandari, Kiran Paudel, and Ashankan Bahadur Malla argued on behalf of ISPAN.

Do you think the Supreme Court could be the last resort to draw a final resolution on the ongoing conflict between NEA and ISPAN over cutting off fiber cables? Do share your perspective in the comments below.

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