Optical fibre laying work to resume by mid-September32 districts will be connected with high-speed optical fibre to allow fast data transfers and voice and video calls.
Optical fibre laying work under the Rs4.8 billion Midhill Information Highway Project, which had stalled due to the monsoon, will resume by mid-September, Nepal Telecom said.
The project envisages connecting 32 districts in Provinces 1, 2 and 3 with high-speed optical fibre to allow fast data transfers and voice and video calls, according to the state-owned telecom giant.
“The contractor installing the cables from Galchhi to Mugling has received route clearance, but work had to be stopped because of heavy rain,” said Prativa Vaidhya, spokesperson for Nepal Telecom.”
In May, the information highway project under the government’s Digital Nepal campaign took off simultaneously from Dhankuta, Sindhuli and Dhading districts.
The three international contractors appointed to install the telecommunications infrastructure within two years are yet to receive route clearance from all local level authorities.
According to Vaidhya, Nepal Telecom has asked the local levels about the route permits, and is currently validating the detailed surveys carried out by the contractors to allow work to continue without hassles.
In the first phase of the project, the contractors will lay optical fibre to build a network extending 2,179 km from Chiyo Bhanjyang, Panchthar in the east to Arughat, Gorkha in the central region.
Korean contractor LS Cable and System has been assigned to install 596 km of optical fibre in Province 1. A joint venture of Arogya Construction, China Railway and China Fuel is undertaking the installation of 1,028 km of fibre in Province 2.
Hong Kong’s China Communication Service International will be laying 555 km of fibre in Province 3.
The contractors must complete the task of installing 96 core cables along the highway, 48 core cables in the district headquarters and 24 core cables in the municipalities and rural areas within two years from their contract dates.
The fibre network requires the installation of high-capacity dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) system in 26 areas and routers in 48 areas. A DWDM system enables service providers to meet immediate demands for increased transmission capacity.
According to Nepal Telecom, the optical fibre will replace copper wire telephone and internet service, and allow the utility to relay necessary bandwidth for efficient use of 4G services which it is currently expanding in the region.
“The project is being financed by the Nepal Telecommunications Authority with its Rural Telecommunications Development Fund, and it will set up infrastructure to allow high speed internet connections, television and voice and video calls through a single line and boost economic growth,” said Nepal Telecom.
The government expects to witness a gain of Rs8 billion in the country's gross domestic product within four years after the infrastructure goes online.
Although the project agreement was signed by Nepal Telecom and the regulator in the fiscal year 2016-17, work only started in the last fiscal year owing to multiple setbacks in alignment study and contractor selection.