Nepal’s incumbent fixed line operator, state-owned Nepal Telecom (NT), has launched an ambitious network rollout project designed to connect even the remotest parts of the country with telephone lines. According to a report from local newspaper Republika, the project began in late January this year with the aim of bridging the so-called ‘digital divide’ between rural and urban areas. Although the government has long championed its quest to provide telecoms facilities to all the nation’s village development communities (VDCs), so far more than 500 of the total of 3,914 VDCs do not have a single fixed or mobile connection. The topography of the mountainous region presents a particular challenge to NT whose chief of satellite services, Anup Ranjan Bhattarai, says it will rely on satellite links to expand telecoms access.
Since starting the new rollout, the incumbent says it has deployed VSATs in ten VDCs in western and mid-western Nepal, where it can register up to four fixed phone connections and an additional line for internet access. The company is also installing cellular-based technology to boost telecoms access. So far it has installed wireless networks in a dozen VDCs in eastern, western and mid-western Nepal operating on both the GSM and CDMA standards.