The Internet Service Providers Association of Nepal (ISPAN) has asked the national regulator the Nepal Telecom Authority (NTA) to intervene in the alleged heel-dragging of state-owned Nepal Telecom (NT) concerning the provision of ADSL access for private ISPs. eKantipur reports the general secretary of ISPAN, Binay Bohara, as saying that if the NTA does not intervene, NT’s monopoly would continue to be a hindrance to the development of the country’s information and telecommunications sector. Last Sunday a meeting between the NT and ISPAN failed to resolve the situation with both sides only agreeing to set up a joint committee to settle the ADSL access issue. ‘The NTA, as the regulator, has always been assisting NT and ISPAN. If they still need our support, we are always open,’ said NTA spokesperson Kailash Prasad Neupane. The watchdog is currently studying the explanation submitted by NT vis a vis the delay. The incumbent is adamant that financial and technical difficulties are behind its decision to stick to a per line levy of NPR450 (USD5.74) for using the copper wire network. Bohara says the regulator has asked NT ‘to fix a deadline and work together, but it is not serious.’ ISPAN members have offered to pay NPR312 per user for ADSL access, higher than its original offer of NPR100.
The ISPAN spokesman went on to say that NT’s demand of NPR450 per line was too much and would only increase end user fees. ‘If we agree on NPR450, the monthly charge per customer will be around NPR1,200 for 128kbps,’ he said. NT’s current price for a 128kbps service is just NPR900. The NTA had instructed NT to provide ADSL access to private ISPs and their customers more than a year ago.