ISP in Nepal halt payments to Indian Service Provider amidst foreign exchange rate dispute

Kathmandu: Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Nepal have ceased payments to their Indian service provider, Upstream, for the past 10 months.

The ISPs cite the government’s failure to address foreign exchange rate issues as the primary reason for this drastic measure.

The Federation of Computer Association of Nepal (CAN Federation) has officially addressed the matter, revealing that payments to Indian service providers were halted due to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MoCIT) not facilitating the necessary foreign exchange processes.

CAN Federation has urgently called upon the government to arrange dollar equivalence facilities for clearing the pending dues to the Indian company, critical for providing essential internet bandwidth to Nepal.
Business leaders emphasize the severe repercussions of the payment suspension, pointing out that ISPs have been unable to settle their bills for ten months due to a lack of government permissions. The payment breakdown stems from MoCIT’s alleged failure to expedite the necessary foreign exchange processes required for the transaction.
Internet service providers in Nepal rely on MoCIT for facilitation in paying for the international bandwidth supplied by Indian companies. However, MoCIT has not yet recommended Nepal Rastra Bank to intervene and address the foreign exchange rate issues. Ranjit Poddar, President of the CAN Federation, asserts that the government’s inaction will directly impact consumers and the overall economy of the country.
Poddar urges a swift resolution to the ongoing dispute, suggesting that the government settle previous agreements with ISPs based on court verdicts, revised telecommunication regulations, and existing legal provisions.
He stresses the importance of mutual understanding and dialogue to address outstanding issues related to royalty and Rural Telecommunication Development Fund (RTDF) dues. The call for dialogue aims to bring about a harmonious resolution that benefits all stakeholders involved.