Wednesday Feb 8, 2023
Wednesday Feb 8, 2023

Pole rent dispute between NEA and internet service providers

2021 Nov 21, 17:05, Kathmandu
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As per the prior agreement, the internet service providers did not sign the pole rental agreement in November. The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), which has stopped cutting the line of service providers who do not pay the rent, is going to take strict action again.

A meeting held with the service providers in coordination with the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology decided to pay the rent for the disputed period by signing an agreement as per mutual agreement. However, the Electricity Authority has stated that the service providers are not happy with the agreement.

NEA is preparing to write a letter to the Nepal Telecommunication Authority within a few days to inform that the service provider agreement has not been reached. Manoj Silwal, head of the NEA's distribution and customer service, said in a letter to the Telecommunications Authority informed the Internet service provider about the non-compliance. "Some service providers have put Rs 1.5 lakh in our account," he said.

The Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) had issued a notice on November 8 instructing the telephone and internet service providers to enter into an agreement with the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) for the use of electric poles. NEA had asked to sign an agreement within October by declaring the location, quantity and duration of electricity pole used.

"We are asking for help from the authority. If the service providers do not come to an agreement, the line may have to be cut again," Silwal said. He added that there should be no situation where some service providers refuse to charge the service fee from the consumers using the structure of NEA but pay the fixed fare.

The authority had started removing the wires placed on the poles after extending internet, telephone and television services using its own electrical infrastructure but not paying the rent. A committee of stakeholders has been formed under the coordination of the joint secretary of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology after a dispute between NEA and the service provider over rent. The committee is now tasked with fixing the new pole fare.

The Internet Service Providers Association has said that the companies will pay by mutual agreement with the authority. The organization has been saying that the service provider is ready to pay by partially manipulating the old rate before the fare hikes.

Electricity Authority, on the other hand, says that the service providers are not cooperating even though they are more flexible about the fare. NEA has been repeatedly requesting to come to an agreement through public notice after finding that some service providers are using electrical infrastructure without agreement as per the rules.

What is a pole rent dispute?

After many internet companies hanging wires and switchboxes on their poles were late in paying the rent, the Electricity Authority made several attempts to collect the rents but was not successful. There is a heated dispute between the Electricity Authority and the internet service provider company about the post fare after 2075. NEA had increased the rent up to eight times at that time.

The service providers protested and did not pay the rent for two years. In 2076, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Ministry of Energy formed a high-level committee and assigned the task of fixing the new pole fare.

The dispute between NEA and the internet service provider on which the rent for the last three years has not been paid and NEA is in loss of crores of rupees. Although the authority is trying to collect the arrears, the internet service providers are not complying.


internet service providers Nepal Electricity Authority Ministry of Energy Water Resources and Irrigation Ministry of Communications and Information Technology Nepal Telecommunication Authority Manoj Silwal
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