The Internet Service Providers Association of Nepal (ISPAN) has determined that there is no environment for providing internet services in the country due to the Nepal Electricity Authority.
In different parts of the country, the Electricity Authority cut the wires of the service providers, and ISPAN has demanded the stakeholders create an environment for providing internet services.
On Monday, holding a press conference in the capital, ISPAN informed that it will be difficult to provide internet service until the illegal activities of the electricity authority are stopped. There is an allegation of Spain that the Electricity Authority cut the internet service provider’s data center, operational point as well as the main line, trunk line, crossing, fiber wire, and other wires used for internet service flow on the pretext of rent.
Sudhir Parajuli, president of ISPAN, said that even though service providers are paying regular electricity tariffs, internet wires have been cut in different parts of the country. According to him, the electricity authority has cut the wires of the service providers in Kathmandu, Biratnagar, Inaruwa, Kakdbhita, Gauriganj, Pokhara, Dharan, Khotang, Sarkhet, Kailali, Butwal, Tikapur, Attaria, Bhairawa, Doti, Dhankuta, Duhvi, and others.
“Internet service is established as an essential service of the state and a human right. To provide internet services, telecommunications equipment should be operated continuously 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” he said. “Internet service providers have to use infrastructure (OPGW, electricity poles), etc. to provide services.
Due to the monopoly of the Nepal Electricity Authority in these infrastructures, the electricity authority has been maintaining the rental rate of the infrastructure on its own.
According to him, the Electricity Authority has increased the pole rent by 700 percent without coordinating with the Nepal Telecommunication Authority, the regulator of the telecommunication sector.
“Nepal Electricity Authority has formed a high-level committee and submitted a report on behalf of the state as the burden will fall on the consumers after the sudden tariff increase and this step is against the spirit of Digital Nepal, in which the Electricity Authority itself has not agreed to implement the report even though it has given the correct stamp,” he said.
In the report, it is said that the authority should take the reduced rate of rent for the year 2075-76, and 2076-77 and the new fare rate should be decided by the representatives of the Information and Broadcasting Department, Nepal Electricity Authority, Nepal Telecommunication Company Limited and Nepal Telecommunication Authority. He says that he is pressuring us to pay the amount accordingly.
“When instructed by the highest body of the state, when the high-level committee reports are drawn to the attention of various commissions and on the matter of priority of the Supreme Court (under consideration in the court), the Nepal Electricity Authority has reached the highest point of illegal activities in its arbitrary manner until proper compensation is given to the places where the Internet service has been blocked and the Internet service “We as service providers have decided that there is no environment for Internet service providers to provide services in the state unless an environment is created,” said Chairman Parajuli.
He is of the opinion that the authority should take all responsibility for the situation arising when the electricity authority is blocking the very necessary internet service.
He also called upon the relevant ministries, agencies, and the Human Rights (National/International) Commission of the Government of Nepal to immediately perform necessary interventional roles to create an environment for providing internet services, to prevent internet service from stopping in the country, to establish human rights, and to protect the rights of consumers.