Internet Crisis in Nepal on National ICT Day

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Happy World Telecommunication and Information Day (17th May).

While reviewing the beginning of the month of 2081 B.S., Nepalese faced an internet crisis on National ICT Day (2nd May). Today, on World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, let's review what actually happened and the present scenario.

Starting with,

World Telecommunication and Information Day

  • It’s celebrated annually on May 17th to mark the founding of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865.
  • 🌐📡 Aimed to spread awareness about the importance of digital technologies and bridging the digital divide! 😊🌟

Digitization in Nepal:

  • Recently, the Nepal government unveiled ambitious plans for the fiscal year, aiming to position Nepal as a digital hub in the world.
  • This strategic move recognizes the transformative power of technology and its potential to drive economic growth, enhance public services, and improve overall quality of life.
  • In this 21st century, Nepal’s telecommunications and technologies have drastically changed. From the advent of mobile networks to the expansion of broadband internet, Nepal has witnessed remarkable progress.

Internet Crisis in Nepal on National ICT Day (2nd May)

To get more clarity, the subtopics in this topic:

  • Cause of the Internet Disturbance
  • Effect Due to the Internet Disturbance
  • Present Scenario

In Nepal, several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as WorldLink, ViaNet, Dish Home (private companies), and Nepal Telecom (a government company) provide internet services.

Internet Service Providers in Nepal

Cause of the Problem:

  • An investigation revealed that private ISPs had not been paying taxes properly for the last six years, amounting to 3 Arba (3 Billion NPR).
  • The government and private ISPs were in a dispute. The government took serious action, warning the private ISPs to pay their taxes, or they would not be given permission to exchange money for payments to their upstream providers. (Upstream providers supply the bandwidth/internet that ISPs sell to consumers)
  • Private ISPs already had a one-year pending bill with their upstream providers. The upstream providers demanded payment, threatening to disconnect the internet service if the dues were not cleared. Consequently, Internet connections in Nepal were disrupted as ISPs defaulted on their payments.

On May 2, 2024, the internet was completely disconnected from private ISPs, while Nepal Telecom's services continued to operate smoothly.

Effect of the Crisis

  • Online Services: such as mobile banking, payment wallets, online educational services, online gaming, and remote jobs were highly affected, almost completely stopped for the whole day.
  • People heavily reliant on the internet experienced significant mental distress
  • Official work in offices was also disrupted

Present Scenario

  • After the crisis, a temporary agreement was reached between the private ISPs, the government, and upstream providers on the evening of May 2, 2024. The internet was reconnected and functioning by May 3, 2024.
  • As of today, there has been no official notice from the government addressing the problem, indicating that the issue remains unresolved.
  • However, there has been no official resolution, and unofficial sources suggest ISPs may increase internet fees to cover the owed taxes.

In summary, Nepal's internet connectivity remains at risk despite the temporary resolution. Let's hope for a sustainable solution to prevent such crises in the future. 🌐📡🇳🇵

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