In order to address the need for a net neutrality policy in the country, NTA had formed a committee to prepare a report on it based on the discussion with IT experts. The report is yet to be finalized. However, Mr. Ananda Raj Khanal, chairman of the committee, does not see the urgency to regulate net neutrality in Nepal.
Why it matters:
Net Neutrality refers to the principle that government should mandate Internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all the data on the internet the same and not discriminate or charge differently by the user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.
In case of Nepal, since there is yet to be a solid net neutrality policy, there are multiple cases of violation of the principle.
For example, the multiple data schemes provided by Ncell like ‘free Facebook’, ‘free Twitter’ and ‘free Wikipedia’ promote those websites and is clearly in violation of the principle.
According to the Nepal Telecom Authority (NTA), there is no standard price rate for Internet in the country. It means that operators like Nepal Telecom (NTC) and Ncell and ISPs like WorldLink and Subisu can choose their own price for data.
What they are saying:
- “There is no urgent need of net neutrality regulation in the country at this time,” said Ananda Raj Khanal, a senior director of NTA and chairman of the committee. “Why would we need a regulation on the topic about which a very few people know?”
- “This is not an urgent issue because nobody has died because of it,” said Khanal. “We might not even need a regulation for the issue as far as I have seen. This is because any activity planned by ISPs ultimately needs to be approved by our office.”
On the other hand, IT experts have been demanding net neutrality policy for a long time.
- “Net neutrality is about transparency and freedom on the Internet,” said Rajan Raj Panta, an IT specialist. “Concerned authorities should be clear about to what extent Internet needs to be censored as well as free in the country. So, a regulatory policy regarding it is the need of the hour.”
- Experts also believe that implementing net neutrality policy will discourage Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from abusing Internet for their own benefits.