Hari Lamichhane/ CB Adhikari
KATHMANDU — Nepal and northern neighbor China have been linked to the international connectivity in a commercial way following tremendous efforts to this end.
The Nepal Telecom (NT) and China Telecom Global in China have formally started services of ‘cross-border optical fiber link’ at the commercial level from today. With this, both companies are allowed to extend telecommunications business in each other’s country.
Nepal has extended its connectivity with China with the commencement of telecommunications services of capacity of 1.5 GB per second. This has provided a ground to the NT to offer telecommunications services in the future at a lesser and affordable prices, and has left possibility for developing Nepal as the transit point between China and India.
The launching of the service came into operation despite high mountain range and geographical difficulties in both countries has been viewed as a new long-term alternative for the installation of fiber cable up to the sea.
It may be noted that with the realization of the need of having an association with more than one service provider though the optical fiber link for the reliable operation of internet services, the then government had forged an agreement (economic and technical) with the Chinese government to this end in 2003 AD.
Installation of the 155 kilometers optical fiber from Kathmandu to Khasa along the Araniko Highway was completed in August, 2006.
The Chinese Telecom and NT will take the responsibility of making security arrangements for optical fiber installed on 200 kilometer area in high mountain areas of both countries.
The NT and China Telecommunication Corporation had on December 23, 2013 signed an agreement on the development and maintenance of China-Nepal Cable Transmission System for Nepal-China cross-border optical fiber connectivity.
Works to this effect were distributed due to the damage caused by the 2015 April earthquake on Kathmandu-Tatopani route. Works regarding the construction of necessary link for Kathmandu-Rasuwagadhiu route were started.
After that in May 2016, China Telecom and Nepal Telecom both entities successfully carried out the test connectivity of the optical fibre.
In the meantime, Nepal Telecom got the approval from the Ministry of Information and Communications on July 14, 2016 for using the optical fibre link for commercial purpose. A business agreement to this connection was initialed in Hong Kong in December 2016.
A milestone in telecom development
The inter-country optical fibre link between Nepal Telecom and China Telecom Global and its commercial operation has been seen as a milestone in the development of the information technology sector between the two countries.
The speakers at the inaugural function organised by Nepal Telecom today described the commercial operation of the fibre link as a significant achievement for the economic prosperity of the two countries.
Minister for Information and Communications Mohan Bahadur Basnet said the commercial operation of the optical fibre link is a milestone in the advancement of telecommunication sector in Nepal.
He said that an important achievement has been made for expanding the economic, commercial, trade and educational activities, noting it has opened the door to prosperity.
Stating that China was Nepal’s second biggest business partner, he said friendly country China was also the biggest country in terms of the foreign direct investments made in Nepal.
The Minister hoped that Nepal and China would soon be linked with railway and urged for the necessary cooperation for the same.
Secretary at the Ministry of Information and Communications, Kedar Bahadur Adhikari said the commercial operation of the optical fibre is a new milestone in the telcom sector of the country.
Ambassador of China to Nepal, Yu Hong said the initiation of the telecom service for business purpose between China and Nepal despite the many technical and geographical challenges brought by the earthquake and other disasters would help in promoting the economic collaboration between the two countries.
Managing Director of Nepal Telecom, Kamini Rajbhandari expressed the confidence that the alternative internet connectivity would help in rendering the services of Nepal Telecom, which has nationwide access, more qualitative and effective.
Representative of China Telecom, Wang Yonglin said Nepal and China have collaborated in the information superhighway under the Belt and Road Initiative advanced by China, which would make important contribution to the economic development. RSS