For its part, NEA blames private internet and cable companies for putting up wires haphazardly without permits, and has forced them to help with cleaning up the mess before BIMSTEC.
The NEA is negotiating with the Asian Development Bank to take wires underground, but costs are prohibitive. Even NEA’s own engineer Laxmikeshar Aganja says underground wiring is not suitable for a city in which there are so many private buildings.
“It is very costly to take cables underground, it takes a long time, and can be dangerous with all the haphazard digging that goes on here,” Aganja said.
Cities in Japan and Korea, where power utilities have to service private urban households have overhead wires, but they are strictly regulated. If it is any consolation to Kathmandu residents, overhead wires in parts of Bangkok and Dhaka are even more unsightly.
Raising the price of pole rentals alone will not be the answer. ISPs and cable operators will simply pass the cost on to clients with a 10% increase in subscription rates.
Says Dileep Agrawal: “The wires are not a problem. They are a problem only if no one wants to do anything about it.”
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