Hopeful internet firms need to have minimum capital of Rs 40 millionNepal Telecommunications Authority rolls out new internet service operation bylaw.
The Nepal Telecommunications Authority has rolled out a new bylaw stating that hopeful internet service providers need to have a minimum paid-up capital of Rs40 million, which officials said was intended to weed out incompetent applicants.
“Rather than increasing the number of service providers, our objective is to increase the quality of service,” said Min Prasad Aryal, director at the authority.
The paid-up capital requirement was inserted in the new internet (including email) service operation bylaw to ensure that prospective service providers possess the financial strength to provide efficient services, he added. There was no minimum paid-up capital provision before.
The new provision says that service providers should provide clear information about the fees they intend to charge customers, and the conditions related to their services on their website.
Firms should have installed the required equipment and system before acquiring an operation licence, and they need to begin service after receiving certification from the authority following an inspection.
The new bylaw was enforced from the beginning of this fiscal year with the aim of making internet service better managed and professional, the authority said.
People have frequently posted complaints on social media about poor internet service.
The Consumer Rights Management Information System of the Department of Commerce, Supply and Consumer Protection has also been receiving complaints regarding poor internet service.
Consumer rights activists also say that they get many grievances from internet users that companies do not provide service as promised.
As per the new bylaw, internet service providers should ensure that repairs are made and interrupted service restored within 24 hours of receipt of complaint.
If the internet company does not restore interrupted service within 24 hours, it should provide a discount on the service charge as compensation, according to the new bylaw.
The service provider is bound by this provision as the internet is an essential service, and connections should not be interrupted for an extended period, the authority said.
The service charge needs to be waived if the customer is facing network interruption. If the service provider needs to interrupt service due to technical reasons or for maintenance, it should pre-inform the customer at least three days before disconnecting service.
According to the latest bylaw, the government or the authority can shut down a website, but Aryal said they would have to be within constitutional and legal provisions.
The stipulation is aimed at removing illegal content that goes against nationalism, national sovereignty or social uniformity, he said.
According to the authority, there are 125 licensed internet and email service providers in the country.