Wed, 01 Dec, 2021

Internet: How It Really Started in Nepal

By Ankit Pradhan

Photo Courtesy: http://www.iwnsvg.com/

dwit-news-5th-special-logo The invention of Internet has become the hallmark in the field of Science and Technology. Internet has made our life a lot easier, exciting and sophisticated. Though Internet was invented in the late 1980s, it was merely used as a communication medium. It was not as fast as we experience it today. In the year 1993, Internet facility was brought to Nepal by MOS (Mercantile Office Systems). At that time computers were not quite popular, it cost a fortune to buy a computer back then. Having Internet connection at home was considered to be prestigious in the society since only a few people could afford it. At first when MOS brought Internet, it distributed this facility free for 1 year to give people a taste of Internet and to make them familiar with Internet. Because MOS introduced the Internet in Nepal, it was the only company which was able to distribute Internet, so there was a monopoly at the time. During the starting phase MOS used a mail box hosted in New Delhi whose domain was registered as mosnet.ernet.in where all the email used to be collected in this domain box. MOS used to make ISD call twice a day in order to connect to the mail box via dial up modem and download emails.  Then only all the emails used to be received. Later on, MOS changed its domain from India to Australia (connect.com.au). It used store and forward technology to retrieve emails. After MOS got its own domain (mos.com.np), it started providing email service from Nepal using UUCP and POP3 protocols.   MOS is also the ccTLD registry and registrar for .NP domain. MOS provides .NP domains for free. Initially there wasn’t anything like DSL, ADSL or mobile Internet (GPRS, 3G); there was only dial-up service available, which was quite slow and tiring. MOS started its service with 9.6Kbps dial-up which was only used for emailing. MOS then got a leased line connectivity to Singtel in Sinagpore of 4.8K after which it introduced Internet service as well. After some period, MOS got another leased line link to VSNL in Bombay. The bandwidth was later upgraded to 64Kbps. Actually, at that time there were two kind of services provided by MOS; email only and Internet. Most of the people used email only since they were not familiar with Internet. From 1998 MOS connected to the Internet using VSAT technology and people started getting better and faster Internet connection. In order to take Internet facility people had to go to MOS with their computer, as there was no home service. Every time there was any error in connection, people had to take their computers to MOS. But as the time passed, new ISPs started to emerge. Companies like World Link mainly focused on customer service, with which the monopoly of MOS was broken and it also started to provide home services. Talking about how Internet was connected using VSAT, there were two leased lines connected to two different modems of 64Kbps each at MOS. One modem was for backup in case another went down otherwise both would be used simultaneously. From those modems, the leased line was connected to NTC Balambu (you may have seen the big VSAT dish near Thankot while coming to Kathmandu). Then the signal was sent to satellites and those satellites used to send signal back to ISPs in Singapore and Bombay (now Mumbai) VSNL. These were Tier 2 Internet providers. Today there are many ISPs providing Internet facilities via broadband and optical fibers. People are used to fast Internet which is not limited to email and communication. Thanks to Mr. Shekhar Basnet (Engineering Manager at DWS) for sharing this information with us.