Minister of the Ministry of Communication, and Information Technology (MoCIT) Ms. Rekha Sharma has requested her Indian counterpart to lower the call rates on calls made from India to Nepal. The ministry made the request at a bilateral meeting with the Indian side in New Delhi during her ongoing visit to India.
“There is a huge discrepancy in international call rates between Nepal and India. There are complaints that Nepalese living in India have to pay very high while making calls in Nepal”, Ms. Sharma said, “Both countries must revise the terminal charges and provide services at affordable rates.”
The minister also drew attention to occasional telecommunication service disruptions between the two countries. In many areas in Nepal, Indian telecom services are operated and she demanded service providers and regulators from both countries be alert to it.
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Ms. Sharma demands Nepali TV channels broadcast in India
In her emphatic discussion, the minister also talked about the status of Nepali television channels in India. The minister highlighted that while Indian TV channels are easily broadcast in Nepal, Nepali TV channels are not found much in India. She requested the Indian side that since a substantial Nepali-speaking population lives in India, Nepali TV channels should also find a larger space.
Again, the issue of the cost came to the fore. Nepali TV channels cost high for their downlink in India. This has made it difficult to transmit Nepali-language TV channels in India, so, she requested the Indian government to make a “special directive” to make the process affordable. Talking further on the entertainment genre, she said that Indian filmmakers can benefit from making a film studio to make Indian films in Nepal.
Similarly, she thanked the Indian government for proposing Nepal to use satellite technology. She said that Nepal will study its technical as well as financial aspects to determine its future roadmap.
The minister requests facilitation for Nepal to get an alternative route for bandwidth import
NTA has started a project to establish Nepal’s link with the international fiber network. Ms. Sharma hoped India would cooperate to enable Nepal’s access to an alternative fiber link, or submarine cables. It will ensure that Nepal gets direct access to international bandwidth.
Nepal imports the majority of its bandwidth from Indian up streamers such as Tata, and Airtel. In fact, Nepal buys around 80 percent of its bandwidth from India through the Bhairahawa-Sunauli border.
International Telecommunication Union (ITU)’s regional office started operations in India. While congratulating India for it, the minister said that she expects it to help the development of the telecom industry further in the region.
Do you expect India to lower call rates on calls made from India to Nepal as the ministry Ms. Rekha Sharma said? Do share your opinion in the comments below.
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