LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

Nepal broadband course starts on 14 June 2017

The first time we taught a course in Nepal, one of the participants discovered that only 2.6 percent of the universal service funds collected in 17 years had been disbursed. We are hoping for something even better this time.

Here is an excerpt from the syllabus:

In India, especially in the central government, telecom policies tend to be developed through consultative processes and are taken seriously. In other countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, policy formulation and implementation is weak. The last proper national telecom policy in Bangladesh dates back to 1998, and in Sri Lanka to 1994. Nepal adopted both a National ICT Policy and a Broadband Policy in 2015, but examination of earlier drafts (Government of Nepal, n.d.) showed that they were more in the nature of wish lists than actionable and resourced policies.

The Bangladesh and Sri Lanka policies were threadbare and had become obsolete long ago. Efforts to replace them with more modern documents have failed to go the distance, though some kind of policy appears to have been slapped together in Bangladesh, while the old policy is what is still displayed on government websites. However, the lack of formal policies does not appear to have caused serious damage to the sectors, which have kept growing and innovating. Of course, the question of whether they would have done even better if good policies were in place and were scrupulously implemented remains open.

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