State-owned Nepali operator Nepal Telecom has created Wi-Fi hotspots in six public areas, providing free high-speed Internet access for three months while the service is tested.
Following a successful trial, the service – which is based on WiMAX technology – will be charged on an hourly basis. Shubash Chandra Shah, NT’s WiMAX project manager, said: “Once the tariff is finalized, customers can buy vouchers of different denominations and use Wi-Fi service for the stipulated time.”
Currently, the public buildings receiving NT’s free Wi-Fi are Tribhuwan International Airport, Bir Hospital, Tribhuwan University Teaching Hospital and Shahid Gangalal National Heart Centre. The operator has collaborated with Kathmandu Metropolitan City to provide Wi-Fi in Basantapur, and also aims to provide hotspots in all domestic airports.
The company is pushing WiMAX technology, with the goal of establishing 500 Wi-Fi hotspots across the country before the end of the financial year – admittedly, this figure has been revised down significantly from the initial aim of 1,500.
Currently, NT claims that just 4 of Nepal’s 75 districts have no WiMAX coverage. The operator plans to provide coverage in Dolpa, Mugu, Humla and Solukhumbu by November.