The Kathmandu Post, Post Report, 8th May 2017, Kathmandu
The process of acquiring internet bandwidth from China has been delayed once again as the extension of infrastructure on the Chinese side has taken longer than anticipated.
According to Nepal Telecom (NT), it expects to connect to the Chinese gateway by May-end.
NT, the largest telecommunications service provider in the country, entered into an agreement with China Telecom to acquire bandwidth in December 2016.
The company had said that the plan would be completed by mid-February. However, laying of optical fibre cable was halted after an avalanche hit the area.
Purchasing bandwidth from China will provide an alternative source to meet the ever-growing demand for data in the country.
Experts say the opening of the Chinese gateway will not only end the monopoly of India in bandwidth supply, but help service providers here to establish connection with other countries through China.
The terrestrial cable route (TCR) connection will link Nepal with China through the Jilong Gateway. Currently, NT is buying bandwidth from several telecom service providers in India.
After a brief halt due to the avalanche, laying of optical fibre cable resumed, and NT had expected to connect to the Chinese network at the beginning of May.
However, complexity in the construction work and the need to extend the fibre network through a different route slowed NT’s plan.
“The task of extending the fibre network is taking place at an altitude of around 4,000 metres and higher,” said Shobhan Adhikari, joint spokesperson for NT. “This is a complex matter and hence it takes time.”
Internet bandwidth from China, according to NT, will help them provide better internet services, especially in the northern belt, and help reduce internet tariff.
The company plans to buy limited volume initially. After testing the speed and assessing several other aspects, the company will gradually increase the supply in the coming days.
According to Adhikari, NT already has a fibre network on the Nepal side and connecting with China won’t be problematic once the Chinese company completes its work.
In order to extend the fibre network at the earliest possible, the Chinese side has started using an alternative route to lay optical fibre cable. According to Adhikari, the new route is 20 km longer.
To ensure that there won’t be any problem surfing the Google network and social media sites, among others, NT is tapping Hong Kong’s server. Following a disagreement with the Chinese government in 2010, the US-based company had shifted its base to Hong Kong from mainland China.
The Chinese government, subsequently, imposed a ban on Google on the mainland.
The latest Management Information STystem (MIS) data published by the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) shows that NT currently has 7.85 million data service subscribers using GPRS, EDGE and WCDMA.