Stakeholders debate broadband policy and regulatory process

DHULIKHEL, July 14: With the growing use of digital devices, and the internet becoming pervasive as an unavoidable member of family, access and affordability of the internet has become a pressing issue to debate in the developing country like Nepal.

At a time when the government record has showed that the internet penetration has neared 60 percent in Nepal, the reliability of the internet is low enough drawing criticism from the users, and the policies on it are waiting proper implementation.

To discuss similar matters, a four-day training on ‘engaging in broadband policy and regulatory process’ kicked off at Dhulikhel, Kavrepalanchowk, today.

The training organized by LIRNEasia, a Sri Lankan think-tank, Internet Society Nepal Chapter and Centre for Law and Technology, is engrossed on multifarious issues relating to internet and information as inclusion in information society, affordable broadband of adequate quality, services and applications that are of value to Nepali users, broadband infrastructures, measures to enhance and assure trust and security, ICT in disaster risk reduction and disaster response, demand size research and the research techniques as searching and managing data, and utilization of internet.

The national and international experts on ICT are making presentations on the training attended by multi-stakeholders representing media, academia, research, civil society, security agencies, government bodies and technology.

The international experts would also share the case studies on ICT policy and regulation.

Making presentation on ‘Communicating to Policy Makers,’ LIRNEasia’s Chairman Rohan Samarajiva said, “Having policies in paper is better than having no policies, but keeping it without implementation is quite worrying.” Pertaining to the broadband policy, he suggested wider stakeholders’ engagement on policy which would help government to implement it effectively.

Similarly, President of Federation of Computer Association of Nepal, engineer Binod Dhakal observed, “Nepal is smart in policy formulation. But the poor implementation has kept us still behind.”

He points out the need to identify real government agency to implement the ICT related policies in Nepal.

Senior Vice-Chairman of Internet Society Nepal Chapter, Santosh Sigdel, said such discussion and training would augment the policy engagement. Time has come to link technology to policy, so that it would bring positive change, he argued.

The participants in the program would prepare policy briefs on broadband policy and regulatory process at the end of the training. RSS