12 January 2023
Nepal’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCIT) has indicated its displeasure over the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) cutting internet cables, resulting in internet outages for many customers.
MoCIT has apparently written to the country's Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation asking it to stop NEA cutting cables. The umbrella union of internet service providers (ISPs) in Nepal, ISPAN, has also called for government intervention. Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) has also been involved, stating that the act of cutting off internet cables is a human rights violation.
NEA has reportedly been cutting off fibre internet cables and power supply lines for ISPs over a dispute about charges for pole rentals. ISPAN members argue that NEA has been bullying the ISPs into accepting inflated pole rental charges. However, it’s not clear whether NEA accepts that is cutting cables to force payment of the new pole charges, rather than doing so for safety reasons.