The Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has said it received a total of NPR1.73 billion (USD17.3 million) in contributions to the country’s Rural Telecommunications Development Fund (RTDF) in the fiscal year to mid-July 2014. The figure was up 30% on the 2012/13 fiscal year, the Himalayan reports. All licensed telcos and internet service providers (ISPs) in Nepal contribute 2% of their annual income to the fund, and there is currently a pot of approximately NPR10 billion available for rural infrastructure projects. The country’s two main operators – Ncell and Nepal Telecom (NT) – paid NPR968 million and NPR700 million respectively, while the remainder came from Smart Telecom (NPR19 million), United Telecom Ltd (NPR9 million), CG Communications/STM Sanchar (NPR8 million) and Nepal Satellite Telecom (NPR2 million).
Separately, NT has announced plans to reduce its ADSL internet tariffs by around 20%, while it is also boosting download speeds and bandwidth limits at no additional cost. A report from Republica says the operator has sent its proposed tariffs to the NTA for approval, while it has already implemented the speed increases for existing customers, with download rates on 192kbps connections boosted to 256kbps, and 384kbps services upped to 512kbps. Meanwhile, those subscribers on volume-based plans will be given 50% extra bandwidth. NT had 114,673 internet users as of mid-August according to figures from the NTA.