NTA’s pilot project for telecom infrastructure sharing

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The Nepalese Government is preparing to introduce three telecommunication pilot projects, one each in the Mountain, Hilly and Tarai region related to infrastructure sharing to increase telecommunication service coverage in rural areas.

The plan comes at a time when telecommunication service operators have asked the government to introduce guidelines, for infrastructure sharing at the earliest, to speed up development in the telecommunication sector in a cost effective way.

This project which aims at building infrastructure enhancement and boosting telecommunication services through sharing will be carried out through grant assistance provided by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) under Information and Communication Technology Development Project to be completed by June 2014.

The government will spend US$ 7 million provided by the ADB, according to Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), the regulator of telecom sector.

“Our study on telecommunication infrastructure sharing will propose three districts, one each from mountain, hill and Tarai to initiate the pilot projects,” said Bhesh Raj Kanel, chairman of NTA. “We will evaluate the districts on the basis of required base tower stations and needs. We will select one district from each region to carry out pilot projects.”

The regulatory body has already started the process of selecting a consultant to carry out the study and recommend modalities on telecommunication infrastructure sharing to increase rural telecommunication density and to develop guidelines for infrastructure sharing to the government.

The study will also prepare a consultation paper on infrastructure sharing and develop guidelines in consultation with operators and other stakeholders.

“The NTA board will make a plan and work accordingly,” said Kanel. “We will call for bids and any operator after being awarded can share telecommunication infrastructure with other telecommunication service operators.”

In future, NTA also plans to gradually expand such projects in other districts as well if it receives positive results from the initial three pilot projects.

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