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Eight quake-affected districts to be connected with high-speed internet

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Kathmandu, May 25: Minister for Communications and Information Technology Parbat Gurung has said the capacity of broadband internet would be enhanced in eight districts mostly affected by the 2015 April earthquake.

As he said, preparations are afoot to sign an agreement between the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) and local levels to ensure access of local governments, ward offices, community schools and health facilities in those districts to high-speed internet connections, supporting the aspiration for ‘digital Nepal’. The project is to include Dolakha, Ramechhap, Sindhuli, Okhaldhunga, Kavrepalanchowk, Sindhupalchowk, Rasuwa and Nuwakot districts.

During a discussion organised here today virtually by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology with local government representatives, the Minister said the campaign would kick off from the abovementioned eight districts.

It may be noted that a meeting of the Council of Ministers on February 11, 2021 had decided to make arrangements for expanding the IT infrastructure from community schools to local governments to health centres in coordination with the local levels on the need basis. The project is to be implemented under the Telecommunications Policy, 2060 BS (2004) and Digital Nepal Framework.

Being based on the same decision, local levels will be entitled for free internet facility for two years and the project will be supported by the NTA’s Rural Telecommunication Development Fund.

The Council of Ministers’ decision stated that the capacity of the internet services would be expanded in a cost-effective manner through the new technology in the 11 districts except the Kathmandu Valley which were severely affected by the earthquake, in coordination with the local governments concerned.

The Minister for Communications and Information Technology said the plan is to expand the internet to the local levels within the next two months with the signing of agreement between the local level and NTA.

“This is the multi-year action plan. Quality and reliable internet would be provided free of cost for two years and we will make arrangements that the local level and the NTA will bear a certain percentage of the cost after two years,” Minister Gurung, who is also the government spokesperson, said.

According to the minister, internet would be extended to the local levels of these districts within two months of the agreement signing. He added that an information centre would be set up at every local level and the problem related to telephone towers seen in the rural areas would be addressed.

Central president of Municipalities’ Association of Nepal, Ashok Byanju Shrestha urged the government to make arrangements so that the works carried out by the local levels can be accessed in an integrated platform through App.

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