Changing connectivities and renewed priorities: Status and challenges facing Nepali Internet
Keywords:Nepali ICT, ICT and development
Evidence available after the devastating April 2015 Nepal earthquake (Gorkha earthquake) illustrate uneven coverage and poor data consumption in Nepal in spite of impressive mobile Internet subscription numbers. Places with favourable terrain, higher population densities, and higher income have better connectivity. Online activity levels, on the other hand, do not always correspond with these factors. Overall, ownership of digital technologies and its use exhibit clear regional unevenness and a large urban-rural inequality. These geographical factors reflect differences in socio-demographic characteristics. Unfortunately, in Nepal, dominant discourses on the Internet brush aside these linkages. With deep structural inequalities, a resource-scarce economy, and a track record of poor governance, broadband connectivity will not reduce this development chasm. This paper calls for Nepali Internet discourses to be grounded in reality, detaching from a ‘self-evident’ development vision of connectivity.
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