Introduction

The Internet Service Providers' Association of Nepal (ISPAN) was set up in 1998 with a mission to develop and promote Internet for everyone. ISPAN had originally started activities when ISPs like Mercantile, WorldLink, CCSL, HTP, ENET came together with the purpose of making Internet affordable to local communities and penetrate in the rural areas. ISPAN has been initiating continuous dialogues with the Ministry of Information and Communication, Nepal Telecommunication Authority, Nepal Telecommunications. ISPAN is in the forefront of liaison with several Ministries and Departments for shortcomings in the License Conditions. ISPAN has been fighting and exercising the right to obtain timely and quality infrastructure and resources to enable High Quality Services to be delivered by the Internet Service licensees. We have since then been at the forefront of bringing about changes in the Internet Policy, through regular interaction with various Government Departments, other Industry Associations and Media.

ISPAN works closely with NTA, NTC, MOIC and various other organizations and it is our constant endeavor to take up and resolve various issues that affect implementation of the ISP's projects. Thus, ISPAN seeks opportunities to encourage and promote the use of Internet and IT enabled services, such as E-commerce, E-governance, Health Care and Distance Learning etc.

Additionally, we have been fighting to provide economic and financial relief to our Members from time to time. ISPAN is playing significant role in obtaining Tax exemption for any Internet related services and subsidizing dial-in rates for Internet users. We are also working hard to utilise the fund being deposited as Rural Telecomm Development Fund (RTDF). Internet Service and Network Service providers in Nepal have been paying 4% royalty and 2% RTDF on the gross revenue. Though the government has pronounced IT Industry as priority service and sector, ISPs and NSPs are still under the economic and financial pressure from HMG. It would not be an overstatement that it is primarily due to the efforts of ISPAN, that Internet penetration has been successful in remote areas of Nepal. Have there been good infrastructure of telephony system, we would have been successful in providing at least email connectivity in each VDC of Nepal.

ISPAN continues its endeavor to take up various issues that affect the implementation of the ISP's projects and monitor the policies related to Internet Industry through interaction with the Government, other Industry Associations and national / international bodies, etc. It is due to constant interaction with international bodies and agencies, we have been successful to establish Internet Exchange in Nepal. The exchange has connected all ISPs in Nepal thereby facilitating users to have faster Internet access for locally hosted sites and locally available services within Nepal. Moreover, the Exchange has reduced the high bandwidth utilisation of local ISPs thereby providing relief on the bandwidth payment structure which has to be paid to a foreign companies in US dollars.