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Nepal Electricity Authority gearing up to review infra-sharing fees

October 06, 2017

Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is preparing to review the fees it charges telecommunication service providers, internet service providers and cable operators for allowing them to use its infrastructure.

Voice operators and internet service providers (ISPs) have been using NEA’s infrastructure for laying optical fibre and poles to fix their cables, among others. Currently, NEA has been allowing the telecommunication service providers to use these infrastructures at a nominal cost. But now NEA has started discussions to fix new charges for the aforementioned service providers that are using NEA’s infrastructure.

“NEA collects just around Rs 250 million in revenue from the major telecommunication service providers like Nepal Telecom,” a high-level source at the NEA told The Himalayan Times. “We are going to review the charges in the near future.”

According to Kulman Ghising, managing director of NEA, fees charged for utilisation of these infrastructure have not been reviewed since long and earlier the electricity authority had permitted use of NEA’s infrastructure in a haphazard manner.

“NEA could generate more revenue from the telecommunication service providers, ISPs and cable operators, who are using NEA’s infrastructure,” claimed Ghising.

Telecommunications giant Nepal Telecom has been generating huge profit by using the infrastructure of NEA, which needs to be reviewed in a timely manner. However, revision in charges by NEA may affect the consumers because the telecommunication service providers and the ISPs may transfer the cost to the consumers.

Min Prasad Aryal, spokesperson for Nepal Telecommunications Authority, said that NEA has not held any discussions with the telecom sector regulator regarding rate hike against the use of NEA’s infrastructure.

“We’re planning to develop separate infrastructure for telecommunications,” said Aryal. “As the NEA is going to initiate underground cabling, we have requested to develop duct on cost-sharing basis, to which NEA has agreed.”

NEA, which has been facing huge cumulative loss due to rising cost of power purchase compared to selling price, has been exploring possible avenues through which it can increase its revenue. NEA’s financial restructuring plan has envisioned to operate NEA in profit from this fiscal. NEA had brought down its loss to below Rs one billion in fiscal 2016-17 from Rs 8.89 billion of the previous fiscal.