Nepal has seen widespread fixed broadband outages resulting from a clash between the state-owned Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and several of the country’s ISPs.
As reported by Nepalitelecom.com, the NEA has acted on its longstanding dissatisfaction with ISPs’ failure pay rental fees for its infrastructure by removing their internet cables from its utility poles. The state utility had set a deadline of 1st October for broadband, cable TV and telephone providers to pay their rental arrears or face having their cables cut.
Several of the private companies have expressed their unhappiness with the substantial increase in rental fees that the NEA implemented earlier this year, complaining that the size of the hike offered them no choice but to raise consumer prices accordingly.
The Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has hit out at NEA for its “indiscriminate cutting” of cables on the grounds that it is a punishable offence to block access to internet services under the Telecommunications Act of 1997. The regulator has called for negotiations between the sides to resolve the dispute.
For its part, the NEA has agreed – albeit temporarily – to stop removing cables, but has refused to budge on its demand for payment.