Telecom authority NTA has completed its free broadband internet project. The RTDF-backed initiative aiming to provide high-speed internet service in local bodies concluded at the end of Ashar. The project cost the authority Rs 5.7 billion in total.
The free broadband project sets up a 20 Mbps fiber connection for free in ward offices, community schools, campuses, health institutions, etc. for free.
NTA reports that a total of 16 thousand, 1 hundred and 17 public bodies in 74 districts have received free internet under this project. The total excludes the centers inside the Kathmandu district.
Out of those, 5 thousand, 9 hundred and 33 ward offices, 5 thousand, 2 hundred and 99 secondary schools, and 4 thousand, 2 hundred and 37 health centers in 708 local bodies received high-speed fiber internet.
NTA Free broadband project
Nta coordinated with service providers to provide the internet service without charging the applicants. But the service recipients can continue their subscription as normal subscribers after two years by paying renewal charges. For this reason, the authority has recently called on the local bodies to keep the equipment secure so that it could be used after the initial service period expires. Besides, they will receive 50% discount if they decide to continue subscribing the broadband connection.
The free broadband project benefited 8 earthquake-ravaged districts
The project started by prioritizing earthquakes-ravaged 8 districts. The districts were – Kavrepalanchowk, Sindhpalchowk, Rasuwa, Nuwakot, Dolakha, Sindhuli, Ramechhap, and Okhaldhunga. NTA even urged on the remaining local level bodies to apply for the connection.
The regulator had divided the project into 18 packages to complete the project in time.
Nta says the countrywide free internet setup will aid the Digital Nepal goal and increase digital inclusion.
The telecom authority has already inspected and certified 15 out of the total packages for their service status. Meanwhile, inspection is ongoing for the 3 remaining packages. Check out: How to connect Internet in Nepal?
Nta has mobilized Rural Telecommunications Development Fund for the project. Each communication service provider in Nepal pays NTA 2% RTDF annually from their profits.
The regulator has sanctioned a budget of Rs 5 billion, 67 crore, and 46 lakhs for the project. So far, 5 billion, 26 crores, and 52 lakhs have been transacted by the end of Ashar. The remaining funds will be mobilized soon.
Should there be more such initiatives to expand internet connection and bridge the digital divide in Nepal? Share your inputs in the comments below.