Four contenders vying for information highway consulting contractAccording to Nepal Telecom, the project envisages connecting 32 districts in Provinces 1, 2 and 3 with high-speed optical fibre.
The Nepal Telecommunications Authority has shortlisted four candidates for the contract to evaluate and certify the implementation of the high-speed transmission information highway project currently being carried out under the government's much-hyped Digital Nepal campaign.
The four contenders are a joint venture of Telecommunications Consultants India, Civil Informatics Solutions and Smart Management and Research; Monenco Iran; Mahakali Mechi Technologies and Suppliers; and a joint venture of Research Institute of Posts and Telecommunications of Vietnam and Tangent Consultant Group.
Following the evaluation and certification, the telecom regulator and state-owned Nepal Telecom will operate the high-capacity dense wavelength-division (DWDM) multiplexing system in 26 regions.
A DWDM system enables service providers to meet immediate demand for increased transmission capacity.
“The project is being financed by the Nepal Telecommunications Authority with its Rural Telecommunications Development Fund, and it will set up the infrastructure to allow high-speed internet connections, television and voice and video calls through a single line and boost economic growth,” said Nepal Telecom.
According to Nepal Telecom, 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.
“In line with the progress in optical fibre laying, we have initiated the process to appoint a consultant for verification of the work as we cannot release payment from the Rural Telecommunications Development Fund to the companies building the network without verification,” said Min Prasad Aryal, director of the Nepal Telecommunications Authority.
“As we have received word from Nepal Telecom that fibre-laying work and system installation have been expedited in the provinces, we will appoint the consultant within two months and check the work in phases.”
The Rs4.8 billion information highway project under the government’s Digital Nepal campaign took off simultaneously in Dhankuta, Sindhuli and Dhading districts last May.
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 fibre network requires the installation of the DWDM system in 26 areas and routers in 48 areas, and 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 contractors in Province 1 faced a setback owing to delayed arrival of equipment, and the contractors in Provinces 2 and 3 had laid over 50 km of optical fibres as of November,” said Pratibha Vaidya, spokesperson for Nepal Telecom. “Installation of the DWDM system and routers has been expedited, and we expect to power the network within the stipulated time of the fiscal year 2020-21.”
According to Nepal Telecom, the optical fibre will replace copper wire telephone and internet service, also allowing the utility to relay necessary bandwidth for efficient use of 4G services which it has expanded in the region.
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.