Thursday, August 17, 2006

Nepal- Licence exempt spectrum access

Press release

Circulated by Mahabir Pun, Nepal Wireless Networking Project

Distributed in the UK by John Wilson

Parliamentary Committee directs Nepal Government to let people freely use the WiFi (2.4 Ghz and 5.8 Ghz) Bands.

August 17, 2006

After a two hours discussion at the Development Committee of the parliament today, the committee gave directives to Ministry of Information & Communications (MOIC) and Nepal Telecommunication Authority to de-license the Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) bands using 2.4 Ghz and 5.8 Ghz frequencies. Moreover, the committee gave instruction to clarify policies in order to make computer to computer VoIP legal. At the start of the meeting, Mahabir Pun, team leader, Nepal Wireless Networking Project, gave detailed presentation about the accomplishments of the project to the members of parliamentary committee, and government officials present in the meeting. He made clear that restrictions on the use of equipment using those frequencies was the major obstacle for the advancement of Information and Communication Technology in Nepal. Minister of State, MOIC, Dilendra Badu, informed the meeting about his recent knowledge on the topic and it was he who wanted the committee to deliberate on it and make a recommendation.

Suresh Kumar Pudasaini, Chairman, Nepal Telecommunications Authority, the Telecoms regulator, said “NTA has already sent it’s opinion on the opening of ISM band frequency for general use to the ministry, but the ministry has not made any decision”. He further added that he has been constrained by his own boards inaction and in-decisiveness on the issues related to VOIP. He had already taken the issue to the board thrice in a row, and blamed his board members for not enacting a decision on it. He had his own grievances towards the Ministry. While he had the rights to issue any form of license and set tariff, on even simple issues related to communications with different ministry of Nepal Government, he had to route it via a junior officer at the MOIC. He later commented that if such situation persists, government should just practice what it does and make NTA just a department under the ministry.

In the same meeting, Mr Satish Kharel, a lawyer, challenged the joint secretary of the MOIC, Mr. Shohan Bahadur Nyachon, when Mr Nyachon tried to mis-direct the group by saying there were prohibitory regulations. Mr. Kharel asked which regulations, and displayed a copy of regulations, only to be meet with silence. MP Raghuji Pant, shared his experience how bureaucrats always tried to mis-lead ministers most often by giving false interpretation of legal and technical issues. It was revealed that the decision on Frequency was under the domain of a committee formed under the chairmanship of the Minister of Communication with the secretaries of Home, Communications, Defense, Tourism along with the Chairman of Nepal Telecoms Authority. On this point, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee, MP Tanka Rai, said that since all members of the frequency committee were present at the meeting, if there were any objections from them. All the concerned secretaries said they had no objections, on which Chairman Rai gave direct instructions to the Minister to publish the necessary directive on the Gazzatte and bring and end to the matter.

Further, Mr. Pun from Nepal Wireless Networking project warned the group that if only NTA and service providers were involved in policy formation, the general users may be left high and dry again, so appropriate caution should be exercised so that the general public also has the rights to buy and use equipments in the ISM bands.

In the end, Chairman MP Tanka Rai, said that there should not be any hindrances in the development of ICT sector and everyone should work towards rapid development of such technologies in the country.

Links: Nepal Wireless

The followings articles were published in international media telling about our community school and wireless networking project.

1. Village in the clouds embraces computers -

2. Praise for 'inspirational' web pioneer -

3. Mercury News, Nepalese man realizing Internet dreams -

4. Taking Wi-Fi to New Heights - Wireless Networking Opens New Opportunities for Remote Nepali Villages.

First published by PC Magazine:

5. Nepal better than Scottish highlands for broadband -

6. Wi-Fi yak farmers liberated by Net -c

7. Wi-fi lifeline for Nepal's farmers -

8. Mahabir Pun Nepal Wireless Interview · 2139 words posted 5 July 04 -

9. Social Innovations Award-Winners 2004 -

10. Himalayan village joins wireless world, December 27, 2004 - A place high in the clouds has some very down-to-earth achievements, writes Connie Levett. -

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