History of IT and Computers in Nepal

IBM-1401, a second generation mainframe computer

IBM-1401, a second generation mainframe computer

The history of IT and computers in Nepal dates back to not more than a couple of decades. However, the growth of Information Technology here has been rapid. The major leap towards the advancement in this field started when the first computer IBM 1401, a second generation mainframe computer (image below), was used in the 1971 census, although an electronic calculator called ‘Facid’ was used before in the 1961 census. Again, another second generation mainframe computer ICL 2950/10 was used for the 1981 census.

The credit for introducing internet among the people mainly goes to the private sector.  Although the internet was initially limited only to email services, in 1995, a company Mercantile Communications finally started the internet services in the country. In 1998, Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), a telecommunications regulatory body, was formed as per the Telecommunications Act 1997. NTA holds the power to issue license to the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Nepal.

Some of the major licensed ISPs in Nepal are:

  • Mercantile Communications Private Limited 
  • Worldlink Communications Private Limited 
  • Nepal Doorsanchar Company Limited
  • Broadlink Network and Communications Private Limited
  • Hotlink Nepal Private Limited
The full list of the ISPs can be found here.
Meanwhile, the number of internet users has increased by considerable amount.  While it was just about 0.2% of the total population in the year 2000 who had access to internet,  it increased to about 2.2% by the year 2010 (Source : ITU).  The advancement in technology due to the advent of smartphones and tablet PCs has helped to increase the public awareness and raise their interest towards technology to a great extent. And it can be felt in the latest statistics of internet users in the country (for the year 2012). The number, according to NTA, has increased to more than 4 millions now (which also includes the number of people accessing internet via GPRS and CDMA).
Although there are a lot of encouraging signs for Nepal in the field of IT, the current quality of IT services and education still leaves a lot to be desired. Considerable amount of work needs to be done and the initiative should be taken early if we are to level and keep up with the world in the field of technologies. 21 st  century demands globalization. Hence, investment and development in the field of technology and computing can not be overlooked to achieve it.

About Kaushal

I'm a student of Computer Engineering. I'm a keen follower of technology. My other hobbies include English novels and movies.

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