The cost of the internet in Nepal is already high in comparison with other countries around the globe. The launch of CG NET has turned on the internet price war in Nepal as the company has launched the fastest internet at the lowest possible cost. But now ISPs in Nepal are planning to increase the cost of the internet by Rs. 300 which would be too much for normal citizens during this hard time.
There were rumors about the government’s plan to reduce the internet price either with tax decrement/exemption or more subsidies. Contrary to that, the latest decision by ISPAN will definitely burden common people and also the country’s digital aim.
The Internet Service Providers’ Association of Nepal (ISPAN) has decided to increase the cost of the internet by Rs. 300 in rural areas and by Rs. 150 in urban areas. The reason for the increase in the internet price in Nepal is due to the increment in the rental charge of cable poles by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA). So, as long as Nepal Electricity Authority charges the new price for the rent of electric poles, ISPAN will be forcing citizens to pay high for the internet.
Earlier ISPAN had warned of the price inflation if NEA increases the pole rent charges. They have also been regularly asking for an increase in internet costs with NTA (Nepal Telecommunications Authority) but they only found NTA to ignore them. Without the approval of the NTA (Nepal Telecommunication Authority), ISPs cannot hike the cost of internet in the country. If ISPs didn’t pay the rental charge applied by NEA with Ashoj 15, they have threatened to cut the cable wires of ISPs. ISPs have been using Electricity and telephone poles for running their wires as well as their fiber boxes.
ISPAN and NEA have been involved in heated talks since Bhadra 2075 as NEA had increased the pole rent by 8% then. Most of the ISPs are yet to pay the rental charge to NEA. Now, ISPAN had made a final proposal to NTA for the increase in the cost of the internet but NTA seems not interested in accepting the proposal.
According to Mr. Purushottam Khanal, Chairman of Nepal Telecommunication Authority, “It’s not a good idea to force customers to pay high for the infrastructure of ISPAN. The conflict between NEA and ISPAN should be settled by discussion, not by increasing the internet price”. He added, “ The price of internet is already high and we should focus on decreasing that. Both Government Authorities and ISPAN should be serious about this”.
After the objection of NTA, the proposal of ISPAN is on hold. Now, we have to wait for how will ISPAN react to the decision of NTA not to increase the price. I think we all agree with the decision of NTA as we can’t afford the increase in internet price when we are already affected by Covid and Lockdown.