Kathmandu, May 2nd, 2020
ICT Frame Magazine has successfully hosted the Webinar on Effective Technology In Nepal For Post Covid-19 Recovery on 2nd May 2020 from 1 pm to 2 pm. The webinar was held on the occasion of National ICT day 2020.
All the distinguished speakers for the event placed their points thoroughly and gave an insight into the current situation of our network system. They also talked about our limitations and how we can adapt the technologies that will lead us the way forward.
Here is the panel of speakers for the webinar:
- Director at NTA, Min Prasad Aryal
- MD at Nepal Telecom, Dilli Ram Adhikari
- MD at Vianet Communications, Binay Bohara
- CEO at Subisu Cable Net, Binay Mohan Saud
The Moderator for the event, Mr. Chiranjibi Adhikari, is the co-founder of ICT Frame. It is the nation’s first woman-led online magazine in Nepal that provides ICT related news in Nepali and English languages.
The webinar covered the discussion of topics such as the technical aspect, service aspect, affordability, network resilience, and safety.
Here’s what the speakers had to say:
Min Prasad Aryal – Director, Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA)
“We have experienced a growth in both local and international data and voice traffic during the lockdown. Right now, we must focus on three important things – to make networks resilient, provide affordable services, and safe use of services.
The crisis tests our capacity – how we manage our services and how we cope with it. It teaches us to move forward with the resources we have and how to better handle it or extend it. Thus, it is extremely important for service providers to continue their services with their business plans.
We are receiving data from the ISPs and stakeholders about their service usage and plans. Definitely, we will continue our talks with the government regarding their request and support the slogan of ‘Broadband for all’. It will help us move closer to the Digital Nepal Framework.
In today’s time, the role of data, voice packs, and the internet service has increased and so has the demand for them. NTA will support the facilitation of technology (3G/4G/5G) and utilize the RTDF fund to further develop telecommunication infrastructures. All sectors are on the verge of going completely digital and for this to be possible, the telco sector and ISPs need to join hands.”
Dilli Ram Adhikari – Managing Director, Nepal Telecom
“I want to start by congratulating everyone present here and listening to me on this occasion of National ICT Day. Before the lockdown, Nepal Telecom had started awareness campaigns through ringback tone and SMS service. With the surge in internet traffic, we have been able to manage our services during the lockdown.
We started with a 100% bonus on mobile top-up. Similarly, Nepal Telecom introduced a bonus on voice and data packs with a 30% discount on the GSM/4G data network. We also came forward with Stay Connected packages for the users.
As the leading telco industry of the nation, we are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in three ways. The first way is by raising awareness among the general public. Another approach is by providing remote or on-site support to keep the network intact. Lastly, we managed the demand for voice and data by launching offers to continue information flow among the general public.
To tackle the challenges in the education sector, we recently made public the launch of the ‘e-shikshya package. Students and teachers will be able to utilize this package through recommendations.
The world is witnessing a socio-economic shift and we have to adapt accordingly. We have also started contract-tracing in association with CCMC (Crisis Management Centre). And, we are continuously providing support through our managed call centers.
Talking about unique tariff plans for remote areas, we have a centralized system and we can’t discriminate on tariff plans. Nepal’s broadband is comparatively cheaper among the nations in South Asia. Moreover, if digital poverty prevails, then the concept of affordability of the network becomes irrelevant.”
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Binay Bohra – Managing Director, Vianet Communications
“I believe in the current scenario, ISPs are doing a commendable job. We have been able to cope with the internet usage surge. The peak time has doubled and the local bandwidth has increased by 100% while the international bandwidth by 25%.
Moreover, taxation for internet service is high and due to these factors, we have been unable to provide our services if users don’t pay their bills. However, the government and us, ISPs, share the mutual desire to provide continuity in internet services. Initially, we even extended the accounts of users for the first 7 days of lockdown.
But, cash flow is very important for business continuity and we need to ensure the salaries of our employees and manage resources as well. In fact, we also opened counters and even collected bill payment through home visits as much as possible.
The pandemic has forced us to go digital which is a positive aspect that we need to take from it. We are encouraging our customers to perform online transactions through digital platforms for bill payment. Likewise, we are attending online meetings on Zoom and other platforms every day to find an optimum solution for better provision of our services.”
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Binaya M. Saud – CEO, Subisu Cable Net
“We have started using work from home technologies and platforms. Talking about our service, Subisu provides both internet and TV services which have seen a sudden surge in traffic. People are working from home, shopping from home, and learning from home.
Since the internet service has been so essential lately, the ISPs started working collaboratively to continue our services. Due to our prepaid systems, some accounts that reached their expiry date may have been disabled. But I doubt if a large population has been deprived of the services.
I believe we are doing a commendable job in continuing our services and haven’t even talked about a price hike. NTA has supported us throughout all these years in our journey but currently, the ISPs need support either through taxation relief or loan services. I believe NTA needs to address this fact.”
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The webinar ended with a series of Q&As which reflected towards going forward by adopting new technologies. The telecom sector and ISPs need to become strong and active with new technologies like Robotics, AI, and 5G.
A practical way forward would be minimizing mass mobility and dedicating towards application-oriented procedures. Concepts of IoT and M2M (Machine-to-Machine) need more focus. And, policies and regulations must be established to govern the activities.
Snapshots from the Webinar