If internet, telephone, and cable firms use its utility poles to hang lines to collect unpaid rent, the Nepal Electricity Authority has issued a warning that their cables will be removed as of October 1.
It was announced on Tuesday by the state-owned power utility that some internet service providers, phone companies and cable TV operators had been using its infrastructure without permission, and that others had failed to submit documents with details of the global positioning system (GPS) coordinates, a map and distance measurements.
In addition, the utility has instructed service providers not to install new cables unless they first sign an agreement with the company.
It stated in the notice that “the authority may at any time remove optical fibres and other equipment installed by service providers who do not make an agreement in accordance with the rules, and they will be responsible for the consequences,” adding that “service providers who do not make an agreement in accordance with the rules” will be held responsible.
Through the use of electricity distribution poles and transmission towers constructed by the Nepal Electricity Authority, internet service providers, telephone companies, and cable television providers have been able to increase their coverage areas.
After service providers failed to comply with the authority’s instructions, the authority has published notices on a number of occasions.
In the words of Sudhir Parajuli, president of the Internet Service Providers’ Association Nepal, “On the one hand, the government has categorised internet as an essential service and has asked service providers not to increase their charges in order to make it accessible to all by bringing the Digital Nepal Framework policy; on the other hand, government-owned entities appear to be in a bind, forcing them to increase their fees.”
While one government entity raises rates, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has made it a policy to provide internet access to all at a fair price. This indicates a lack of cooperation across government bodies.
According to him, the electrical authority increased the per pole rent by more than four times in a year in 2018, and “we indicated we would not pay the additional charges and that there is no requirement to pay any more,” he said.
The Communication Ministry had formed a committee comprised of representatives from the Nepal Telecommunications Authority, the Nepal Electricity Authority, Nepal Telecom, and the Law Ministry in order to finalise the rental for utility poles and the use of infrastructure, as well as to manage the wires that were strung across these poles.
Parajuli stated that the committee did not invite representatives from internet service providers to participate in the talks undertaken to determine the pricing. In his statement, he stated, “We have been vocal in our opposition to the government’s decisio
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