Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) is in preparation to implement the controversial TERAMOCS (Telecommunications Traffic Monitoring and Fraud Control System) to “monitor” internet service providers (ISPs). The authority’s Chairman Purushottam Khanal shared the plan during a recent press meet held recently to discuss the premises of the highly debated telco monitoring system.
NTA recently organized a press meeting to address the concerns surrounding the TERAMOCS project worth billions of rupees. During this event, the NTA chief revealed that soon, the authority will bring ISPs on its radar.
TERAMCOS was originally brought to “monitor” telecom operators. Currently, NTA is trying to convince Nepal Telecom (NTC) and Ncell to sign up for the hugely controversial project. However, the system is so rife with controversies that operators have maintained a distance from the authority on its integration. Ntc and Ncell have both refuted suggestions that they would be “forced” to give in and have released statements on their stance of necessary talks before coming to terms with the monitoring system.
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“Initially, we started TERAMOCS with telecommunication services which have huge financial prospects. But next, we plan to enter the internet market with it,” Chairman Khanal said. “We understand that many of its equipment and infrastructure can be useful for the internet too, he continued. His statement tries to establish that the system is purposely brought to find out the telcos’ finances and is not concerned with other sinister objectives such as phone tapping as many fears.
NTA to implement TERAMOCS to monitor the internet quality and revenue
NTA Chairman Khanal shared that TERAMOCS will study revenue and service quality of the internet if it ever comes to deal with the ISPs. He said that the authority can’t stay uninvolved while the government is losing huge revenues expressing dissatisfaction with the service providers’ financial reports.
Currently, the system is on hold with the directive from the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. However, discussions are ongoing to bring the system into operation.
NTA is under intense pressure to justify the need to bring TERAMOCS into operation. The telcos, public, and experts have particularly voiced their concern over the system’s potential capability of tapping users’ phone calls.
Public Account Committee tells NTA to submit all the TERAMOCS documents
In the meantime, the Public Account Committee from the House of Representatives (HoR) has asked NTA to submit all the documents related to the TERAMOCS project in a week. The committee’s Chairman Rishikesh Pokharel announced the collective decision made by the members in a meeting on Friday, October 13. It’s necessary to study all the details of the procurement process of the system so the committee has asked for all the documents from start to date.
The committee has also called on upholding the status quo of the system that is to keep it from implementation. The same meeting also asked NTA not to sell Smart Telecom’s license.
In these developments, NTA is trying to convince the telcos, the public, politicians, and other stakeholders of the system. So far, the regulator has spent over Rs 3 billion on TERAMOCS. Not implementing it after such high spending would reflect on the authority’s poor policy and plan capacity while proceeding with it might also raise security questions from the users’ end. In all, it has become a double-edged sword for the telecom industry.
As a user of home WiFi internet, how will you see NTA aiming to bring the TERAMOCS monitoring system into the ISPs’ internet services? Will you be concerned about your privacy and user data or do you feel that it doesn’t entail such a strong reaction? Do share your opinion in our comments below.
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