Nepal taking strides towards rural and urban connectivity

Nepal taking strides towards stronger rural and urban connectivity

Nepal looks set for a major connectivity boost with the news that its largest ISP WorldLink Communications will construct data centres in 14 of the country’s largest towns within the next three years.

The company has confirmed that all of the new data centres will be carrier-neutral so that they can be used by other ISPs and telecom operators as well as government agencies and other organisations.

As reported by TeleGeography, the majority of the data centres will be Tier-2 certified, although the largest – to be located in the capital Kathmandu – will receive Tier-3 accreditation. The initiative will support the government’s Digital Nepal programme, which seeks to provide citizens with quality internet access as demand for digital services grows.

In a statement, the company said: “With these IDC facilities, everyone will get internet content faster, cheaper and in a more reliable way. Even the government and private organisations will find a very secure and reliable world class facility to host their digital contents and cloud infrastructure.”

While the data centres will focus on towns, it appears rural areas in Nepal will not be neglected. In a separate development, the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) is planning to open the Ka-band frequency range (19.7GHz-21.2GHz downlink, paired with 29.5GHz-31GHz uplink) for use in the country.

The news was announced by Singapore’s Kacific Broadband Satellites Group, which uses Ka-band technology to deliver broadband to rural and remote regions. Its offering provides fast and reliable connectivity using concentrated spot beams picked up by easy-to-install antennas.

While Ka-band technology is making its debut in Nepal, it has proven effective in other Asian markets – including countries with mountainous terrain similar to Nepal’s. Around 80% of Nepal’s population lives in rural regions where it is difficult to deploy cable-based connectivity.

To address this, Nepal’s Minister for Communication and Information Technology Parbat Gurung is pushing the country’s state operator Nepal Telecom (NT) to extend its coverage to remote mountainous regions of the country. 

Nepalitelecom.com reports that NT has come under pressure from the government for failing to meet deadlines for deploying its LTE wireless network as well as installing a fibre-optic cable along the country’s key Mid-Hill Highway route, which connects all seven provinces. Gurung has reportedly told NT to prioritise service quality over profits given the potentially limited return on investment associated with connecting remote regions.