ISPs blame government’s non-cooperation for delay in payment of internet bandwidth

Published On: January 13, 2024 08:00 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Jan 13: Internet service providers (ISPs) of Nepal have halted payments to the service provider in India for 10 months accusing the government of not addressing the foreign exchange rate issues. 

According to the Federation of Computer Association of Nepal (CAN Federation), the payment to the Indian service providers has been stopped because the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MoCIT) did not facilitate the necessary foreign exchange process.

CAN Federation has drawn the attention of the government to arrange the facility of dollar equivalence for the payment of the dues to the Indian company for providing internet bandwidth to Nepal. The service providers have not been able to pay for ten months due to lack of permission from the government.

Internet service providers of Nepal acquire the international bandwidth of internet consumed in Nepal from the Indian internet service provider Upstream. However, the payment to the Indian internet service provider company Upstream for supplying bandwidth to Nepal has been stopped. In particular, the businessmen say that the MoCIT did not facilitate the payment and that is why they have not paid for the last ten months.

The Nepali ISPs need facilitation from the MoCIT for the payment for using the bandwidth supplied by the Indian company. However, the MoCIT has not recommended Nepal Rastra Bank to facilitate foreign exchange rate. Ranjit Poddar, president of the CAN Federation, says that its direct impact will be on the general consumers and the overall economy of the country.

He said that it would be appropriate to resolve the ongoing dispute between the Ministry and the Internet Service Providers regarding the royalty and Rural Telecommunication Development Fund (RTDF) dues through mutual understanding and discussion. 

"The previous agreements between the government and ISPs should be settled by the government based on the court verdict, revised telecommunication regulations and the existing legal provisions," said Poddar.


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