Nepal’s Internet Blackout : Government Policies Spark Nationwide Connectivity Crisis

Internet Blackout

The Nepali government’s decision to restrict foreign currency exchange has led to a disruption in internet services across Nepal. Internet service providers (ISPs) in Nepal have accumulated unpaid bills of around 3 billion Nepali rupees owed by Indian companies for international bandwidth.

Representatives from the upstream network service provider company, Aps Trim, had visited Kathmandu four months ago and warned of the possibility of stopping services for Nepal from the new year (2024) if the payments were not made quickly.

The Nepali government’s move to block the foreign currency exchange required for these payments has now resulted in Indian telecom operator Airtel cutting off the bandwidth supply to Nepali ISPs. This has led to widespread internet outages, impacting major ISPs like Worldlink, Subisu, Vianet, and CG Net.

Internet Blackout

The Nepali government has cited issues related to the payment of royalties and RTDF (Rural Telecommunications Development Fund) fees as the reason for restricting the foreign currency exchange required for the ISPs to pay their Indian bandwidth providers.

The ISPs have strongly criticized the government’s actions, stating that the responsibility lies with the government for the long-delayed payments. They have warned that the internet service disruptions will severely impact consumers if the issue is not resolved quickly.

The article highlights the complex regulatory and financial challenges faced by Nepal’s internet infrastructure, which is heavily dependent on bandwidth supplied by Indian operators.

The government’s foreign exchange restrictions have now led to a breakdown in this critical cross-border connectivity, causing widespread internet outages in the country.

‘Indian companies have threatened to cut off the internet if they do not receive payment on time,’ said a service provider. The impact has now been seen.

Large service providers have stopped providing services. Due to the shutdown of internet services in many parts of the country, customers are calling their service providers.

Worldlink has stated that due to non-payment, Indian companies have cut off the bandwidth, affecting internet services.

According to the Nepal Telecommunications Authority, there are about 9.1 million internet customers nationwide. Among them, 886,000 are customers of Nepal Telecom.

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