‘It’s time now to invest in web content’

KATHMANDU: Stakeholders have emphasized on the need to increase investment in the content of internet service as its usage has increased significantly since the lockdown.

Stating that there has been substantial investment in the development and expansion of the telecommunication sector, they stressed on the necessity of investing in content now.

Speaking about the role of internet as a medium to new learning today, Director of Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), Vijay Kumar Roy,during a virtual interaction organized by Society of Economic Journalists – Nepal (SEJON),highlighted the importance of improving web content.

He informed about the authority’s implementation of cyber-related directives, closure of some unauthentic online portals in coordination with the Press Council and introduction of e-learning packages amid the lockdown. Roy mentioned that due to the active engagement of internet service providers with their subscribers there have not been as many complaints as anticipated.

Meanwhile, Pawan Shakya, a rural telecommunication specialist, said that the situation of both connectivity and content in rural areas is still poor as compared to in urban areas. He said that people in cities have choices regarding services so subscribers can easily search and understand the content. “Therefore, the focus now should be on improving internet services in rural areas.”

Citing the probability of a digital division being created between rural and urban regions in the future due to lack of internet services in remote areas, Shakya urged people to be more aware about this problem.

Regarding connectivity, Managing Director of Nepal Telecom, Dilli Ram Adhikary, stated that it should be facilitated by mobilizing NTA’s Rural Telecommunications Development Fund (RTDF) in Karnali Province, the Himalayan region and the high hills of the country.

He opined that the government should facilitate web services in those places where internet service providers(ISPs) are yet to venture. He said that ISPs readily expand services only in densely populated places.

Adhikary further informed that the money in the RTDF has been collected for the rural areas by deducting two percent of the annual income of all ISPs and thus, the amount should be spent for the prescribed work.

At present, the government has a current account to deposit the amount collected in RTDF. He opined that the fund should be utilized to improve content for subscribers in rural areas.

Meanwhile, Bhoj Raj Bhatta, president of Internet Service Providers Association, said that internet bandwidth consumption has increased by 40 percent during the lockdown and the preference and usage pattern of consumers have changed. He urged the regulatory body to think about the fact that the social network,Tiktok, which has become popular in recent times, has challenged the service providers in managing bandwidth.

NTA Director Roy informed that the authority is currently studying about the usage of TikTok and its contribution to the state and consumers and whether to allow the app to continue providing its service in the country. He also said the authority is studying on whether it would be feasible to provide the service directly from Nepal. He stated that NTA will soon take a concrete decision regarding this issue.

Andy Chong, chief executive officer of Ncell Axiata, said that the customer service pattern has changed since the COVID-19 outbreak hit the country.Informing about the increasing data usage in the country, Chong said Ncell is preparing to bring a program targeting the same. He also hinted about introducing some positive developments in 5-G technology for Nepalese users soon.

Chung mentioned that during his tenure, he has been working closely with the government and has provided as much financial assistance as possible. He said that under its corporate social responsibility, the company has carried out programs like public awareness campaigns and distribution of SIM cards to those working on the frontline in the fight against the coronavirus, among others.

Fiscal Nepal |
Friday September 11, 2020, 11:15:10 AM |

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