Nepal announces national broadband policy

The Nepalese government has announced a new broadband policy aimed at bringing down the cost of entry level services to as low as 208 rupees ($2.08) per month by 2018.

The National Broadband Policy 2014 also sets the goal of connecting 45% of Nepal's households to broadband within this timespan, the Himalayan Times reported.

The government has set a target of expanding broadband access to 70% of village development committees, providing a 1Mbps or higher connection to 20% of public secondary schools and introducing broadband to all state-owned hospitals.

Initiatives will include ensuring adequate mobile broadband spectrum is available, promoting infrastructure sharing between operators and ISPs, and devising a low-cost subsidy program for underserved areas.

According to government statistics, the average broadband cost is 1,010 rupees per month, which amounts to around 17% of per capita income.

The policy aims to connect at least 30% of the population to broadband services with speeds of at least 512kbps by 2018, and deploy a fiber backbone connecting all 75 of Nepal's districts. By comparison, Nepal's total household internet penetration in 2013 was just 4.9%.