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Industry News

China, Nepal connected with optical fiber for first time

KATHMANDU, June 11 (Xinhua)-- China and Nepal are now connected with optical fiber network for the first time through the Geelong(Keyrong)-Rasuwgadhi border point, which has ended Nepal’s sole dependence on India for connecting the Himalayan country with global telecom service.

State-owned Nepal Telecom (NT) announced Saturday that its optical fiber network has been connected with that of China Telecom Corporation Limited.

"After establishing connection, we conducted technical test about two weeks ago," Dilliram Adhikari, joint spokesperson of NT told Xinhua.

He said that the NT would start commercial use of connected fiber very soon.

The telecom giant announced last month that it had completed laying the optical fiber to the Rasuwagadhi border point and now fibers of the two countries have been connected.

The NT laid the optical fiber to Rasuwagadhi from capital Kathmandu via Galchhi of Dhading District and Dhunche of Rasuwa District, paving the way for interconnection with Chinese fiber network.

According to Adhikari, Nepal now can be directly linked with Hong Kong Data Center, which is one of the two biggest global date centers in Asia, through the Chinese mainland.

"The use of the Chinese route to connect with Hong Kong Data Center will help enhancing quality of internet services in Nepal because of shorter distance," said Adhikari.

In order to use the interconnection of optical fiber between the two countries, the NT has already delivered necessary equipment to Rasuwagadhi.

"They are now being transferred to Timure, about one and half kilometer inward Nepal, considering the risk of landslide in Rasuwagadhi ahead of the monsoon season," said Adhikari.

Following the connection with Chinese optical fiber, Nepal are also able to purchase internet bandwith with Chinese companies. Currently, Nepalese internet service providers have been purchasing bandwith with companies from India and other countries.

"This will create a competitive environment for purchasing internet services which could reduce cost of internet service here," said Adhikari.

The NT initially planned to connect its optical fiber with China through Tatopani-Zhangmu(Khasa) border point, and the optical fiber was being laid on both sides of border. However, the earthquake last year damaged the fibers laid on both sides, according to NT officials.

Given the fragile geographical condition of the area, the Chinese side asked NT for exploring an alternative route for fiber connectivity. "Then we decided to connect through Rasuwagadhi," said Adhikari.

Meanwhile, the NT said it has signed initial memorandum of understanding with China Unicom, another Chinese telecom operator, for further cross-border optical fiber connectivity.

Nepal and China had agreed to enhance connectivity during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s official visit to China from March 20 to 27.

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