Internet service providers need to expand their services to rural areas as well. Stating that internet access is less in rural areas as compared to urban areas, service providers also stressed on the need to expand services.
At a program organized by the Nepal Economic Journalists’ Society (NEJS) on Wednesday, Director of the Nepal Telecommunication Authority, Min Prasad Aryal, said that the Internet was spread only in urban areas and urged to expand it in rural areas as well. He said that the internet is an essential sector and the service providers should expand their services across the country when they get licenses.
According to Internet Service Providers (ISP), 59.2 percent of households in urban areas have access to the Internet, while 34 percent of households in rural areas have Internet access. Speaking on the occasion, Sudhir Parajuli, President of ISPAN, said that internet has become expensive due to higher taxes on essential services. He said that the tax on internet sector should be reduced. Former Spanish president Vinay Bohoro claimed that the Internet was too expensive to expand in rural areas. He also said that the cost has increased further as the Electricity Authority has increased the pole fee.
Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Finance Sharad Niraula said that there would be talk of higher taxes in the internet sector but there would be no discussion on the quality of services. Spain said it would discuss tax cuts in the Internet sector.
Managing Director of Nepal Telecom Dilliram Adhikari said that internet charges are cheaper in Nepal than in South Asia. He said that increasing investment in technology infrastructure would further contribute to the country’s economy. According to the Telecommunication Authority of Nepal, the contribution of the telecom sector to the gross domestic product (GDP) is 2/3 percent.