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India and its neighbourhood relations - Nepal ends India’s monopoly on internet access with new Chinese link
                                                                                                    January 14, 2018


By opening a new optical fibre link across the Himalayan mountains to China, Nepal has ended India’s monopoly on internet access. The Chinese optical fibre link enters Nepal at Rasuwa, 175 km north of the capital Kathmandu.

Significance of this move:

Till recently, landlocked Nepal was totally dependent on India for access to the worldwide web through connections at Biratnagar, Bhairahawa and Birgunj, for which it pays a substantial sum as fees and royalties. Besides state-run Indian firms, Nepal has been acquiring bandwidth from private players such as Tata and Airtel and BSNL. The opening of new line shows China’s growing engagement in a region seen as India’s backyard.

Background:

The internet was first introduced to Nepal in 1993 by a venture between the Royal Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (RONAST) and a private firm, the Mercantile Office Systems. The Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai had a UNDP-funded internet connection and RONAST set up a system whereby it could connect to Mumbai to transfer email messages. The first optical fibre link to India was built four years later.

Data use in Nepal has been increasing constantly with more people using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and communication platforms such as Viber, Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat, especially to communicate with family members abroad.