A few years back from today, the internet was a luxury. But today the scenario is different. The internet is a basic necessity of today for almost every age group.
Be it rhymes for kids, research, and social media for youths to the news for elders. It has become a part of our daily lives. Moreover, the pandemic has taught us the value of it.
For something that gained so much importance it should have been viable for anyone. Yet, its high price and unequal access to it, says otherwise.
47% of the entire population still do not have access to the internet. This is ironic, considering how one individual has different identities across different media.
PRICE OF INTERNET GLOBAL RATES
The average price for the internet is estimated to be $50 per month, globally.
South Africa houses some of the most expensive rates for the internet. Mauritania having the most expensive internet in the world. It costs 768 dollars per month. That is almost Nepali One Lakh rupees per month. Being no short of a luxury.
The United States charges about $67. Whereas, the cheapest Internet is in Ukraine at only $5 per month. The price range seems to be vast all around the world.
The average price for the internet in Nepal is around $14 which is 1650 rupees.
Also Read: How to buy a domain in Nepal?
WHY THE HIGH PRICE?
In Nepal, although in comparison the price may not be as high, still it is quite high for something like the internet. Few reasons that have contributed to this crisis are the following.
Internet usage has boomed since the pandemic. As people were locked in their homes with nothing else to do, the internet was almost everything in these times. While pre-lockdown internet consumption stood at 1486 gigabytes per second. Post-lockdown levels reached as high as 2100 gigabytes per second.
Google and Facebook alone dominate 82% of all internet traffic in Nepal. Most of the data went through mobile phones and cable internet, with only 11% on wifi.
And well, we all know that the rise of demand is always followed by a price hitch for any product in the world.
In Nepal, there are a string of taxes added to the price of the internet. The taxes included for our internet are:
13% Telecommunications Service Charge + 13% VAT + 4% Royalty
With this, there are also some more taxes like Rent tax to national service providers, corporate tax, and TDS to International providers.
These many taxes applied increases the price a lot.
Currently, Nepal has to import most of its wifi network as it can not afford fiber optic cables (hope we will have something great in the future). They import from China and India.
This dependency increases the price since it’s not locally sourced. This also makes sour internet connections vulnerable to network failure due to problems in the gateway.
And the interesting thing is that the gateway for China in Rasuwa also risks connectivity due to weather problems in that area
The infrastructure development scenario in Nepal is quite weak. There is not enough available equipment and constructions like fiber optics, buildings, and BTS Poles. The lack of these services hitch the prices as there are no alterations to these and ISP have to buy their land and construct. The labor for these exclusive sedatives comes at a cost.
Technology has evolved to be one of the most basic necessities in every sector of our everyday lives. The rise of internet usage in Nepal has also seen a massive increase unlike before.
It is no longer for our entertainment purposes or a luxury only. But something that sustains careers and lives. It is important more than ever, for the price of the internet to be made more affordable and hence, more accessible to everyone.