December 2: The delay in the expansion of the optical fiber network project in the district headquarters along the mid-hill highway is likely to push back the implementation of the Government's Digital Nepal Framework plan.
According to the government plan, the optical fibre network should have been laid in the rural areas to provide high quality internet service at the beginning of the current fiscal year.
However, the telecom companies which have bagged these contracts have delayed the project. This has not only has pushed back the project but also has added uncertainty to the government idea of implementing the Digital Nepal Framework within 5 years.
The government in the last fiscal year had announced that it would digitalize Nepal completely within the next five years.
The framework aiming to make the services and facilities easily and simply accessible to the general public with the use digital technology outlines 8 domains and 80 digital initiatives by evaluating various eight major areas.
The completion of optical fiber backbone network project is crucial for the implementation of Digital Nepal.
Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NEA) in 2018 had handed the responsibility of supplying high speed fiber internet to all the seven provinces to NTC, United Telecom and Smart Telecom under its optical fiber expansion project worth Rs 9 billion.
Apart from province 1, 2 and 3, the companies have not initiated the expansion work in other provinces.
Bhes Raj Kandel, former chairman of Nepal Telecom Authority claims that the government has only limited the Digital Nepal project in speeches rather than bringing it to reality. "The development of optical fibers, IT labs and software development is slow," Kandel said.