KATHMANDU, Sept 23: The number of internet subscribers in the country has almost doubled to around 19 percent from the earlier 10.89 percent within a year as increasing competition and introduction of new technology have eased access to internet services.
According to Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), the total number of internet users in Nepal has jumped to 5.04 million as of August 2012, whereas their number was just 3.11 million till August, 2011.
During this period, the number of wireless and fiber optics users more than doubled and reached 45,602.
Kapil Giri of ClassicTech attributed this popularity of wireless technology to competitive pricing and better services offered by the operators. “The service is hassle-free and more convenient,” he said. ClassicTech has been offering wireless service based on AirMax technology along with options of WiFi and fiber optics.
Likewise, the number of GPRS users has also grown rapidly. The NTA statistics show that presently there are more than 187,000 GPRS users, whereas a year ago there were less than 100,000 users.
“Companies are offering flexible plans and better services,” said president of Internet Service Providers´ Association of Nepal (ISPAN) Binaya Bohara.
“The number of wireless users went up because ISPs started offering high speed internet through this technology,” he said, adding that easy installation and comparatively cheaper pricing has contributed to massive growth in the number of internet subscribers.
Bohara, who operates Vianet, said that the growth of fiber optics users was positive. He said the major customers of fiber optics internet were quality conscious users.
“The fiber optics technology is no longer limited to big corporate houses and diplomatic missions,” stated. Affordable pricing and reliable services has made this technology popular with small offices and households.
ISPs also attributed the increasing usage of internet to services that integrate internet with e-banking, e-shopping and others. “Internet today is not just a means of communication. It has become a life style,” said Giri.
He said internet tariff has massively gone down enabling even people from low income groups to have access to internet. The number of ADSL users jumped to 92,000 from 68,000.
Despite the increasing number of internet users, customers of cable internet and dial-up continue to decline. The number of cable internet declined to 15,000 from 18,000 and dial-up users are limited to 15,000 now. The number of dial-up users was 20,355 till August, 2011.