For the first time, China and Nepal have been connected with an optical fiber network via Tibet as infrastructure between the two countries is being firmed up to extend high-speed Internet services to Nepal and end its “sole dependence” on India, Chinese state media reported today. China has extended its optical fibre network to Nepal via Geelong(Keyrong)-Rasuwgadhi border point, “which has ended Nepal’s sole dependence on India”, Xinhua news agency reported. State-owned Nepal Telecom (NT) said its optical fibre network has been connected to China Telecom Corporation Limited.
“After establishing connection, we conducted technical test about two weeks ago,” Dilliram Adhikari, joint spokesperson of NT was quoted as saying in the report. Adhikari said NT would start commercial use of the fibre cable soon. As a result of this Nepal now can be directly linked with Hong Kong Data Centre, which is one of the two biggest global date centres in Asia, through the Chinese mainland, he said. “The use of the Chinese route to connect with Hong Kong Data Centre will help enhancing quality of internet services in Nepal because of shorter distance,” he said.
ollowing the setting up of the Chinese optical fibre, Nepal can now purchase Internet bandwith from Chinese firms. The fibre network brings Nepal Internet services under the ambit of Chinese telecom networks. At present, Nepal’s Internet service providers purchase bandwith from companies from India and other countries. “This will create a competitive environment for purchasing internet services which could reduce the cost of Internet service here,” Adhikari said. China has been ramping up its rail and road connectivity with Nepal and backing Prime Minister KP Oli’s government in dealing with the Madhesis, largely of Indian-origin, who have been protesting against the new Constitution claiming a raw deal for them.
Their nmonths-long protests, blocking Nepal-India border trade points had created a severe crunch of essential supplies in the landlocked Himalayan nation. Besides restarting previously damaged roads to Nepal via Tibet, China in a strategic move last month opened combined road-and-rail services to Kathmandu to speed up supplies. The two have also beefed up their military relations. Admiral Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of China’s Central Military Commission, and Chief of Army Staff of the Nepalese Army Rajendra Chhetri discussed military-to-military and bilateral ties during Sun’s visit to Kathmandu two days ago.