KATHMANDU, Oct 3: The tussle between Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and internet service providers (ISPs) has once again hit the internet users after the state-owned power utility started removing internet transmission cables from the electricity poles throughout the country from Saturday.
The NEA and the ISPs have been on a warpath after the authority announced to hike the rental charges of its utility poles being used by ISPs. While the NEA has been blaming the ISPs for breaching the rule to clear the dues for the use of the utility poles, the ISPs have termed the power utility’s move to hike the rental charges as unfair.
In this regard, ISPs have knocked on the doors of Nepal Telecommunications Authority to increase internet prices by Rs 150 to Rs 300 per subscriber. On the other hand, the NEA is aggressively removing the wires and cables of internet and cable TV services, which have been identified among the essential services.
According to NEA officials, the authority has removed a number of internet and cable TV wires and cables from its poles in places such as Biratnagar, Janakpur, Pokhara, Butwal, Surkhet and Dhangadhi, among others. “We have gone into action only against those ISP companies which defied the deadline of Friday and did not come into contact with the NEA offices,” said an NEA source.
Many sectors including education, banking, big industries and health, among others, now depend on online platforms to carry out their businesses after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country. The government has also put forth its plan to take the economy to digitization by extending the internet services across the country.
Following the rift between the two service providers, Energy Minister Pampha Bhusal a few days ago also expressed her commitment to resolve the matter so as not to hamper the interest of internet users. However, no progress has been seen in this regard so far.