13 December 2014

Universal Connectivity in Nepal: A Policy Review


This research brief summarizes the findings of a review of policies related to
Universal Connectivity (UC) in Nepal. Here UC means connectivity of the
internet using different devices such as mobile, computer, and other internet-based
technologies (IBTs). The brief shows that Nepal’s UC-related policies envisage
both general and specific roles for the technologies related to IBTs in realizing
the country as a well-connected, knowledge-based society. The policy phraseology
has enabled both the state and the private sector to mobilize huge resources to
create new institutions, burgeoning market spaces, and influential discourses in
the last two decades. The review undertaken, however, suggests interventions are
needed and there are opportunities for much more grounded policies to ensure that
existing inequalities are not reproduced in both providing access and the use of
digital technologies.

This brief introduces, in the first section, the UC policy landscape in Nepal. The
landscape includes the country’s constitution, policies and plans, Acts, Regulations
and Directives issued and amended over time according to changing priorities of
governments and new developments in technology and economy. The second
section lays out how specific policy visions have facilitated the creation of new
institutions and discourses, which have advanced the interests of mainly the elite.
By tracing the genealogy of three key phrases in these policy documents, the third
section of the paper demonstrates the need for more grounded instruments that,
drawing insights from recent research on technology transfer and dissemination,
go beyond establishing infrastructures to facilitate information flows among the
government, business and citizenry. The brief calls for a new set of evidence based
UC policies that are explicit in their aim to rectify the current structural
and geographical imbalances. These policies offer better alternatives than current
options which assume a leveling effect of the Information and Communication
Technologies (ICTs), and little consider that technologies are themselves socially
constructed artefacts.

Source: 'Introduction' section from Martin Chautari Research Brief 12, we uploaded yesterday. Please visit this link for the full brief: http://www.martinchautari.org.np/files/ResearchBrief12-UniversalConnectivityInNepal_APolicyReview.pdf.