KATHMANDU, Oct 28: Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has asked the internet service providers (ISPs) to ink an agreement with Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) for the use of the latter’s utility poles.
Issuing a public notice on Thursday, the regulatory body directed the ISPs to carry forward their business only after formalizing the agreement on the utility poles. For this purpose, the NTA has given a deadline of mid-November to the ISPs.
As of now, the ISPs have been refusing to clear their dues for using NEA’s utility poles despite repeated notices forwarded by the state-owned power utility. According to the NTA, the ISPs owe more than Rs 70 million to the NEA. Of the ISPs using NEA’s utility poles, 12 have not cleared their dues for the past eight years.
The NEA and the ISPs have been on a warpath since the power authority announced a hike in 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.
Amid mounting debate, the government last month formed a six-member task force under a joint-secretary of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. The panel has been given a deadline of November end to submit its final report on the issue.