Indian links to upgrade Nepal's telecom sector
May 10, 2007 - 3:03:49 PM

Kathmandu, May 10 - State entity Nepal Telecom - has inked a pact with India's Reliance Telecommunications as part of its drive to upgrade the telecom sector and slash call tariffs.

As part of the agreement, NT will switch over to a fibre optical network from its current system of routing phone calls through satellite, a change that will cut costs and enhance the network.

The agreement, signed by NT's managing director Sugat Ratna Kansakar and Reliance's adviser Narinder Sharma Wednesday, means the optical fibre network built by each entity in their respective countries will be linked by June-end.

NT's optical fibre network currently extends to Biratnagar town in southeastern Nepal while that of Reliance lies in Jogbani in India, on the other side of the border.

Both will be extended and connected by June, which is expected to lead to slashing of international phone call rates in Nepal as well as increase the number of lines.

Reliance is the third Indian company to link its network to NT. NT is also linked with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd through the Birgunj-Raxaul border as well as Birtatnagar-Jogbani route. Another link connects NT's Bhairahawa network with AirTel's Gorakphpur optical fibre network.

Besides linking with the Indian companies in the south, NT is also planning to expand phone routes northwards by linking up with Chinese companies.

Work is on to build the North-South Optical Fibre Network between Kathmandu and Khasa in Tibet with the cooperation of the Chinese government.

When it is completed, Nepal hopes to develop as a transit point in the telecom sector by providing interconnectivity between telecom companies of its two giant neighbours, India and China.

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