The project to expand the broadband network across the country has reached the stage of completion. According to the Nepal Telecommunication Authority, the project has been completed in Phagun out of the target of providing internet to 706 localities under the project.

Now only 34 ward offices have internet connection left. According to NEA, 5,899 ward offices have been connected to the internet so far.

There is a facility to use the internet for free for two years in all the designated places including the office connected in this way. According to NEA, internet connection has been completed in all the health institutions and secondary schools under the designated local level.

According to NEA, the project aims to connect 4,237 health institutions and 5,299 secondary schools with internet connection. According to NEA, the work of internet connection has been completed 99.79 percent by the end of the project.

NEA had allocated Rs. 5.67 billion from the Rural Telecommunication Development Fund for this project. So far, Rs. 4.47 billion or 78.81 percent of the total allocation has been spent.

Under the project, NEA was tasked to lay optical fiber in designated public bodies through licensed telecommunication service providers.

NEA had implemented the project in 74 districts by dividing it into 18 packages. For this, the responsibility of fiber network expansion was assigned by competing different service providers in different packages.

Although the project was initially targeted to be completed within two years, it has been completed after about six years. According to the package, two years of free internet access has expired in some places.

NEA has paved the way for providing services in such places by charging internet fee applicable in Kathmandu Valley.

According to NEA, evaluation and verification of eight packages has been completed so far.

Similarly, the evaluation and certification work of the first phase has been completed by the consultant of one project and the report of evaluation and certification work of the second phase of three projects has been received.

Similarly, under the third phase of the two projects, a mandate has been issued to the consultant for evaluation and verification, according to NEA.

Accelerating information highway

The information highway, which has not been able to move forward even after the agreement has been signed for a long time, is slowly gaining momentum. According to NEA, 56.45 percent progress has been achieved under the first package of the project to extend optical fiber to all district headquarters and municipalities based on the Mid-Hill Highway.

According to the NEA’s data up to Fagun, 1,230 kilometers of optical fiber has been laid so far in State 1, Madhesh State and Bagmati State under Package One. The package aims to lay 2,179 kilometers of optical fiber. Nepal Telecom has been doing its work.

In Gandaki and Lumbini provinces under Package-2, the work of information highway has not started yet. NEA had decided not to extend the contract to United Telecom (UTL), which was entrusted with the package-2 after the work did not start on time.

However, UTL had filed a case in the Supreme Court against the decision and an interim order was issued not to extend the agreement until the case was settled.

The work of laying optical fiber has already started in Karnali and Far Western Provinces under Package-3. Under this package entrusted to Nepal Telecom, the work of laying 12.04 or 240 kilometers of optical fiber has been completed. One thousand 992 kilometers of optical fiber will have to be laid under this package.

NEA has allocated Rs 9.89 billion for the information highway out of which Rs 615.5 million has been paid in package 1 so far and Rs 400 million has been paid in advance under package 2. The information highway will provide the necessary infrastructure for high speed internet flow.

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