Nepalese government studies satellite plans and new ICT policy

21 Jan 2015

The government of Nepal has formed a committee to carry out a feasibility study into the possible launch of the country’s own communications satellite. Nepal was allocated an orbital slot by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as far back as 1984, and the ITU is now calling for the country to make a decision on the use of the slot by the end of 2015. The committee includes representatives from the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC), the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) and Nepal Telecom (NT), local news portal Republica reports. The government plans to hire an outside consultant to examine the potential costs and likely business model for a new satellite platform. The MoIC has estimated that the satellite project will cost around NPR35-40 billion (USD350-400 million) and that it will take around ten years to bring the satellite into operation after its launch.

Meanwhile, the government has formed a taskforce to help create an overall ICT policy to bring together the numerous pieces of legislation currently regulating the sector. The study group brings together representatives from the MoIC, NTA and NT. There have been complaints that the sector has too many separate laws, which often overlap; these include the Telecommunication Act, Telecommunications Regulation and Broadband Policy, all formulated by the MoIC, plus the IT Policy 2011, Electronic Transaction Act and Electronic Transaction Regulation 2008, which were introduced by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (MoSTE). Republica quotes Ananda Raj Khanal, director of the NTA, as saying: ‘Once the ICT policy is drafted, the ministry will either replace or remove the irrelevant aspects of the existing policy and add up new points in the existing acts.’