Kathmandu, July-29 Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) is in the process of selecting an international firm which could suggest it on effective use of Rural Telecommunication Development Fund (RTDF).
NTA has shortlisted Delta Partners Strategic Investment Services of Singapore, Sofrecom SA and Arthur D Little Middle East FZ-LLC of France, Laurasia Associates Limited of the United Kingdom, and ICRA Management Consulting Service of India, and Cisco Systems Service of The Netherlands from 13 firms which had submitted Expression of Interest (EoI).
NTA is hiring international team leader cum telecommunication specialist, and national telecommunication expert and financial expert.
“The selected company will provide us professional services for best utilization of RTDF and will also make recommendations for various technologies and equipment such as Optical Fiber Cable (OFC), mobile tower, VSAT and Broadband Band connectivity,” Achyutananda Mishra, Assistant spokesperson of NTA, said.
According to NTA, the consultant firm has to provide service for assessing, surveying, planning, designing, implementation and mechanism for utilization of RTDF and recommend equipment required in those sectors.
NTA will now ask Request for Proposal (RFP) from all the shortlisted firms. “We will select the consulting firm after evaluating their technical and financial proposal,” said Mishra.
The telecom regulator plans to complete the process of hiring the consultant by mid-October.
The government, through the budget for Fiscal Year 2015/16, announced that it would use RTDF to lay down optical fiber along Mid-Hills Highway to develop Kathmandu, Lumbini and Nijgadh as smart cities. RTDF will also be used to provide broadband Internet services in quake-hit districts.
The government also plans to use the fund to expand broadband internet service to all municipalities for enhancing people’s access to ICT.
RTDF was established as per the provision in Telecommunications Act 1997 to provide basic telecommunications services in rural areas. But only 2.6 percent of more than Rs 10 billion collected in the fund has been used so far.
NTA has been collecting 2 percent of annual income of the licensed operators for RTDF for the past 17 years. According to NTA, it has disbursed Rs 265.69 million to Nepal Telecom and Rs 2.95 million to Subisu Cable Net from the fund to expand their services in remote areas.