Communication minister Rekha Sharma has said that in the upcoming FY 2080/81, two districts of each province will have complete telecom service.
Responding to the questions raised by the members during the discussion of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCIT) under the Appropriation Bill, 2080 in the National Assembly on Thursday, she said that necessary infrastructure will be added to provide quality telecommunication services across the country.
She maintained that the ministry is committed to improving connectivity in areas where the signal is low, or not available. Likewise, the minister shared that highways are also at the center of focus to extend telecommunication services.
Currently, the government has aimed to expand broadband services in remote areas and at all local levels. Nepal Telecom (NTC) has made its 4G network available at 98% local levels while equally expanding fiber services in remote regions. The minister said that all the centers of the local governments now have connectivity. The plan is to establish a reliable internet connection in all wards. 4G, 5G, and fiber internet connectivity are the key to the plan to get two districts connected by telecom service.
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All community schools and health centers will get broadband internet
NTA is conducting a broadband project with a rural telecommunication development fund (RTDF). The initiative aims at setting up fiber connections at all local levels around the country. The minister said that so far, 4390 health centers and 5318 community schools have been connected to the internet. While free at first, the bodies must pay for the internet after two years. The initiative aims at connecting all the community schools and health centers with broadband service in FY 2080/81.
She also talked about the latest innovations in wireless technologies. “We encourage service providers to provide telecom services using the latest technologies. In FY 2080/81, Ntc will switch on its 5G network for commercial purposes.”
Cybersecurity has emerged as a new challenge with the growing use of ICT. To tackle this, the ministry is working on promoting digital literacy and regulating social media. She hinted that the government would come up with a concrete resolution to bring social sites into federal monitoring.
Work on cybersecurity and data center
The government has witnessed a series of data loss and cybersecurity challenges in recent months. At this, the minister said that a web monitoring system is in development to minimize online mishaps.
As per the initial measures, the disaster recovery center in Hetauda will be improved. The government also plans to regulate data centers run by private companies. Just a few weeks ago, all government websites went down due to a power failure, while shortly before that, lakhs of Lok Sewa user data went missing. While the reasons may be different, such instances have reflected poorly on the government’s ability to keep its data secure.
Data center is a growingly more used term in Nepal’s telecom sphere as more companies- government, or private are investing their resources to protect data.
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On postal service (Hulak sewa)
Communication minister Rekha Sharma also delved into the utility of the postal service (Hulak Sewa) in Nepal. Admitting that the old technology is less in use these days, she also ensured that it will continue to operate. Instead, she added that the service will go through a structural readjustment to make postal service more effective and economically viable.
The government will exercise the concept of one municipality, one post office. With this structure, service will be delivered as per a federal unit. It’s likely to relieve many of the employment but the minister said the departing will be awarded with honorable facilities in high appreciation for their services.
Hulak Bachat Bank will be scrapped
The government of Nepal established Hulak Bachat Bank in 2034 BS for savings. However, over the years, the institution has fallen short of use with the growth of other banks and financial institutions.
This is why, the minister revealed that the government has already started transferring existing accounts and amounts at Hulak Bachat Bank to Rastriya Banijya Bank (RBB).
The idea of at least two districts becoming fully equipped with all telecom service is very appealing and we wish the government does this on time and with quality. Nepal’s digital transformation is driven by the Digital Nepal Framework, 4G, and other emerging technologies. To achieve digital goals, all stakeholders, companies, and the public must be on the same page as bridging the digital divide precedes most concerns.
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