According to Akamai.com, the average downlink Internet speed in Nepal is 1.9 Mbps and the average uplink speed is 2.8 Mbps.
Population & Internet Availability
The current population of Nepal is approximately 29 million. Over 20% of residents have access to the Internet, especially narrowband connections.
Main Types of Access to the Internet
Nepali residents can access the following Internet services:
– ADSL Internet
– Wireless Internet
Internet Access – ADSL
ADSL Internet is the only wired internet service available in Nepal. Almost the entire infrastructure is concentrated in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital city, due to the fact that other cities either fall under very low income categories, or are located in mountainous regions where it is virtually impossible to roll out the necessary infrastructure without incurring massive costs. Even so, ADSL services provided in Kathmandu are of very low quality and reliability. According to various sources, internet speeds reach 1 Mbps at best, and prices easily exceed $13 per month. There is moderate intent to improve the infrastructure; however, because there is very low demand for high speed internet services, and because most people do not actually have Internet access at home but pay for it at so-called “cyber cafes”, it is quite clear that the existing infrastructure will not see much improvement for the foreseeable future.
Internet Access – Wireless Internet
Users who cannot access the Internet via ADSL or do not wish to make use of cyber cafes for doing so usually resort to wireless internet. This type of service has seen considerable growth in recent years, especially in Kathmandu, but also in several mountain villages which were included in a nationwide program designed to bring internet access to remote areas that cannot support traditional wired services, that is, ADSL internet. Owing to the technology used, wireless internet services are more expensive than ADSL.
Internet Censorship in Nepal
Even though there are some limitations on the Internet imposed by the Nepali government, accessing it freely should not present any problem, since the limitations in question are quite hard to implement in practice. For instance, the government, which is the only regulatory body to oversee the broadcasting sector in Nepal, has recently imposed a ban on pornographic content, which every ISP must enforce on their respective users. However, such limitation is very hard to go forward with in practice, and this is demonstrated by the very high number of users who still can access this type of content. Apart from this particular issue, several NGOs assert that the Internet in Nepal is generally not tampered with by legal bodies. The OpenNet Initiative conducted a test from October 2006 to January 2007 on six Nepali ISPs, namely Worldlink, Everest, Mercantile, Nepal Telecom, Speedcast, and Websurfer, in order to detect possible filtering of internet access. The results came out negative.