Tag Archives: wireless

Connected in Kathmandu: Complaints and Compliments

By Dinesh Wagle

Soon after Tihar celebrations were over in Kathmandu last week I was in Thamel with a colleague who was leaving the newspaper for good. As he took his bike to a nearby parking lot I stood a few metres away from the entrance of the Roadhouse Café. I started fiddling with my phone. As soon as I tapped on the email application of the iPhone it caught six WiFi signals in the area.  I was astonished.

Not in Khan Market or Connaught Place in New Delhi (where I have been living for the past two years) have I received so many signals at once. Not in Paharganj, Delhi’s Thamel, the backpacker’s ghetto. Not in Park Street, Kolkata or Colaba, Mumbai. I am aware that it will be a gross injustice to Kathmandu if I compare it with some of the biggest cities in India. Kathmandu has suffered tremendously at the hands of incompetent, quarrelling and power hungry politicians. The overall politics of Nepal has become so disgusting that Kathmandu, the capital, has no option but to cover its face in shame. Kathmandu is a humiliated city. Humiliated by its politicians and lazy bureaucrats who are unwilling to think out of box. On the other hand, Indian cities have prospered under the stability that the relatively functional democracy provides.

Kathmandu connection kathmandu post 14 Nov 2010

Kathmandu Post. 14/11/010

A few days later I was pillion riding on the bike of a colleague in Tinkune. He showed me a few signboards that advertised WiFi connections. One signboard read: “You have entered Subisu WiFi zone.” (Subisu is a cable Internet service provider.) One couldn’t have expected availability of such services in places like Tinkune until recently. Dozens of ISPs have come up in the past several months in Kathmandu and other parts of Nepal. Despite the bad politics the country has witnessed a silent revolution in telecommunication. We have installed a third generation mobile phone tower on a hill that is not very far from the Everest. Thank you, Ncell. Continue reading

Hurray! Laptops Go Wireless in Nepal

Theme of the blog: Now you can be online from anywhere in Kathmandu and 52 other districts of Nepal, thanks to the PCMCI card distributed by Nepal Telecom from yesterday

The season has started in Kathmandu (and other parts of Nepal) for laptops to go wireless. As I am typing these lines, I am elated to see a web page being downloaded with the wireless connection that I purchased today. 🙂 🙂 Feeling like flying over the sky thinking aloud: “I am freed from the world of wires.” Thanks to the PCMCI card that Nepal Telecom started distributing from yesterday in BICC, New Baneswor where Computer Association of Nepal (CAN) is organizing 13th edition of CAN Info Tech. I bought teh CDMA-based data card this afternoon for Rs. 8, 890 and installed it in my machine with the help of a NT employee. It feels so special to be connected wirelessly in Kathmandu. It was always a dream. Now, in principle, I can go online from anywhere in Kathmandu and other 50 districts of Nepal. Yes, I must carry this laptop with me and pay the bills. 😦

I am happy but I strongly feel that Nepal Telecom overcharged us. The pre-paid card that includes Rs. 500 equivalent of Internet connection (25 paisa per 100 KB), is very expensive and NT hasn’t justified why it is charging that much money. In addition to that, I had to make my voice louder when two employees refused to give me back the change. I gave them Rs. 9 thousand and they had to give me back Rs. 12. “We don’t have change,” said the man. “If you want change, give us the exact amount (Rs. 8, 888).” I thought that wasn’t a responsible way of handling a sales desk. They said that around 20 people bought the card today and none of them demanded the change. “So what are you doing with that money?” I asked them. The money would not go to Nepal Telecom. “Well what can we do as we don’t have any change,” the man said.

“I want the change back,” I kept insisting and another man came complaining about a different problem.

The younger man started looking into the safe box to look for the change and found Rs. 10! I was shocked with their behavior. “What is this?” I asked the man waiving two five rupees notes. He was quiet and quickly turned away from me.

While trying to install the card, it almost seemed that the card wasn’t working in my machine. I was frustrated. While sitting behind the NT desk in the Gandaki Hall of the BICC, I had to face so many curious visitors who were throwing one trillion questions about the CDMA and pre-paid mobile phone service of NT. There were no other NT staffs to deal with the visitor’s questions. That was a poor show on NT’s part. Thankfully, the card in my laptop worked and I quickly opened UWB, the homepage, and checked out WSJ and my Gmail account just to make sure I was getting things live from the web. Yes, I was!

Laptop owners lined up since yesterday in front of the Nepal Telecom stall as the Kathmandu Post had carried news about the card on front page. Since NT had announced that it had only 300 cards in stock, people were eager secure one for their machine. Two persons from our office, (Ameet Dhakal, news editor, the Kathmandu Post and Rajesh KC, cartoonist, Kantipur Publications) bought cards yesterday. In canteen yesterday afternoon, Ameet dai and I talked about accessing the web and chatting with people in different part so of the world from a paddy field in Jhapa! I am looking forward to use Internet from some of the strangest points in Kathmandu and other parts of Nepal.