KATHMANDU, July 27: Following widespread criticisms from the public over the decision to charge 13 percent telecommunication service charge (TSC) on internet service, a committee formed by the government to review the decision has decided not to increase cost for Internet users.
Issuing a statement on Thursday, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology stated that the committee has decided to adjust the TSC on Internet service toward bandwidth and fix wired broadband without adding any additional cost on the users.
The committee also has a representative of the Internet Service Providers Association of Nepal (ISPAN).
Through the budget speech that came into effect from July 17, the government had imposed 13 percent TSC on top of 13 percent value added tax on Internet service.
While the government officials were maintaining that the decision to impose the TSC would not increase the cost for users, the Internet service providers were already levying additional 13 percent charge on the invoice sent to users.
As the public pressure mounted on the government to roll back such service charge, the government had formed a three-member committee last week to recommend measures for resolving the service charge row.
The committee led by Joint Secretary Birendra Kumar Mishra decided to adjust the TSC from the contribution from amongst government and Internet service providers and not levy additional fee on consumers, according to the statement.
However, it was not immediately clear how the contributions from the government and the Internet service providers will make up the telecommunication service charge.
“Internet users will not have to pay additional charge as Internet service providers along with the government will absorb such charge,” Binaya Bohora, a representative of ISPAN in the committee, told Republica. “The government has agreed to waive off service charge on maintenance and support as part of the Internet service for users while Internet service providers have agreed to absorb rest of the charge. This means no additional charge for end users,” Bohora, who is also the managing director of Vianet Communication Pvt Ltd, said.
However, the TSC toward data has not been adjusted yet. This means that data users will have to pay 13 percent TSC. But, the data service providers will have to seek approval from the Nepal Telecommunication Service to increase such TSC in their new data packages, according to NTA officials.