Nepalese regulator to cancel five ISP operator licences

21 Aug 2013

Nepal’s telecoms industry watchdog is threatening to cancel the operating licences of five internet service providers (ISPs) in the country over their failure to launch services, and for not staying in contact with the regulator. The Kathmandu Post reports that the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) is planning to revoke the licences of national ISP Neptell Global and four rural ISPs, Mandabi Multipurpose Society Development Centre, Samajik Nyayakalagi Sanchar Abhiyan, Pratidhwani Media, and Namchhe Network.

As per the NTA’s stipulations, all domestic licensees in Nepal are required to submit financial reports each year declaring their income. Based on the report, the ISPs are required to contribute 2% of their annual income to the Rural Telecommunications Development Fund (RTDF) and 4% as royalty to the government. However, NTA deputy director Santosh Paudel says that the agency has faced problems in contacting the ISPs. ‘Even if we dispatch letters, they come back to us saying the address is not found,’ he notes.

It is not the first time that ISPs have come under the spotlight. Recently, the operating licence of Himal Technologies, an ISP which targeted urban parts of the country, was scrapped automatically after it failed to renew it. The NTA has said that rural ISPs in particular are ‘dying’ as a result of intense competition from rival mobile internet services offered by Nepal Telecom and Ncell.