The problem with Nepal's local Internet Service Providers (ISPs)

Sharing an experience of what and how does Nepal’s local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) serve their customer base and whereabouts of their businesses. I’m not an IT guy but I have tried to share how Nepal’s ISPs are thugging Nepalese and how the regulatory body or authority is deaf earing about the quality of Internet services.

“Your requested URL has been blocked as per the directions received from Department of Telecommunications, Government of India. Please contact administrator for more information.”

URL blocked message government direction
URL blocked message government direction

Strange, I’m browsing Internet from Nepal, from a very popular café in Thamel in Kathmandu. But I’m presented this notice while visiting a popular website. Okay, never mind I thought this ISP of mine purchased their bandwidth from India so this might be the possible reason.

Back to time, remembering one of my friends who had just started an ISP business outside the valley. He purchased 20 Meg of speed (Mbps) from an Indian service provider at a considerably cheaper price and was selling to his hundreds of customer based on this much bandwidth. The business was going good, he continued for a year just with one potential customer whom he sold 2 Mbps line for double the price he purchased his entire bandwidth from India. The good going business of Internet service in the country. Probably, the scenario hasn’t changed much. But has, with so many ISPs competing with each other, okay! at least in the Kathmandu valley.

IP address blocked for security reasons
IP address blocked for security reasons

The other day, I was Googling as usual, and all of sudden I felt like somebody threw a spear towards me, in fact it was a Google’s message which said I am not a human being hence I can’t Google search. Else I need to verify. Huh!

“You have been redirected here because your computer IP address is blocked for security reasons. Click on the correct image and your IP address will be unblocked. You will be redirected to the website you have tried to visit.”

Another notice that the user’s computer is connected to the Internet via a blocked IP address, and hence the user cannot browse some websites and even search engines. The unusual traffic from your computer’s network, courtesy of Google Search Help, tells that not only me but whole lot of users from this IP from this particular ISP are being victimized. We are among users where the network is sending automated traffic to Google and other services.

Nepal’s ISPs should have regularly checked their network, scanned for user’s confinement to the Use Acceptable Policies (UAP) however we lack that from the national authority body hence local ISPs just don’t worry about their quality of network services. Probable hackers, spammers and cloakers around the clock – maybe such people choose and use such low grade (don’t know how can I say that to some even good ISPs) Internet services.

Google Search blocks IPs, IP ranges, and in some cases, whole ISPs, when a large percent of the traffic entering our networks is abusive.

The common issue addressed by Google on why I shouldn’t be getting blocked on Google search suggest me to look for Hola VPN – the notorious browser plugin which requires to be uninstalled from your computer. Wait, probably that is not enough sometimes. It might be installed at some computer in the network shared with you. You never know who that guy has installed Hola VPN. For sure the ISP knows about, but they are too ignorant about.

You can also check whether your IP or URL is blacklisted or not, simply visit whatismyip’s blacklist check service here. The IP blacklist check checks if the entered IP address or URL is listed with DNSBL (Domain Name Blacklist) or SURBL systems used by email system admins for spam elimination. More on this from What Is My IP itself below:

Your IP address may be blacklisted for several reasons. Your IP may only be listed on a single blacklist, or it could be listed on multiple blacklists. Each IP blacklist is maintained separately and not governed by a central source. Each may have different standards for listing/delisting IP addresses.
If your IP address is blacklisted, this doesn’t necessarily mean there is cause for concern. Some blacklists automatically add any IP address that is assigned via DHCP from the ISP. DHCP IP addresses are mainly how almost all residential connections connect to the Internet. Business accounts are more likely to be assigned static IP addresses. ~ Why is my IP address blacklisted?

IP blacklist checking service
IP blacklist checking service

Last month during my travel to another city, I happen to come across a blacklisted IP, looks like the ISP is a national grade company but still the IP on my network is blacklisted (screenshot attached.) After spotting and referring the issue to the hotel, they were told by the ISP that this is not an issue for them – probably ISP never mind why their IP address was blacklisted and hundreds of users alike were suffering.

Nepal government’s Telco authority (NTA- Nepal Telecommunications Authority) have tried to block adult websites in the country, but we had never known about blocking torrent and file hosting websites. Probably, the problem is with the ISPs – maybe some not even registered to operate as ISP in Nepal while others getting bandwidth pipe directly from the Indian boarders where the torrent and file hosting websites are blocked by the Indian government and recently the blockage of adult websites. Check list of torrent and file hosting websites blocked in India. While the list of blocked websites in Nepal is too limited to some obvious adult websites, such list doesn’t appear to be found, at least NTA hasn’t published one.

Let’s hope the government authority regulate on quality of services that the consumers are getting from the country’s Internet Service Providers, and much more on such ISP and network black listing offences victimizing the poor netizens who are just learning to use the Internet.

Share us your thoughts, and experiences with your ISP.

About the Guest author: Sameera is a fiction writer and a community work based in Kathmandu.

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