(Nikkei BP Group)
(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)
| Vietnam Internet Access Fee Likely to be Cut 30 Pct.: Official
November 3, 1998 (HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam) -- The State Steering Committee
for Internet Development of Vietnam said the access fee to the Internet,
which was launched just 10 months ago in the country, will be reduced
to boost Internet use in Vietnam.
|"We have agreed the fee must go down, maybe 30 percent, but we have not
made a final decision," Mai Liem Truc, head of the General Department
of Post-Telecom and Deputy Head of the committee, told representatives
of local Internet service providers (ISP) and scientists at a conference
on interactive networking and Internet technology held in Hanoi.
Many conference participants asked for a lowering of the access fee to
expand the number of Internet users in Vietnam. The country officially
linked with the global net last November, but so far, according to the
ISPs, there are only 11,000 accounts, half of them held by foreigners.
Truong Dinh Anh, director of FPT, one of four ISPs in Vietnam, complained
that is not a large enough number to jump-start commercial development.
The access fees was controlled by the government, and it is expensive
for most people.
"The fee is VND400/minute, but users also have to pay telephone fees
(VND150/minute) to connect with the server," Anh said.
Vietnam Data Communication Company (VDC) has opened seven gateways for
direct access to the Internet through E1 backbone lines linking Haiphong,
Quang Ninh and Nghe An with Hanoi; Dong Nai, Can Tho and Ba Ria-Vung
Tau with HCMC; and Hue with Danang. "We have done all we are able to
do to expand Internet users in the country," said VDC Chief Vu Hoang
Lien also said VDC subscribers in these localities can now access the
Internet directly and rapidly like those in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City
and Danang, without having to pay for inter-provincial phone calls.
Currently, the company's VNN network has access gateways in 31 cities
and provinces. If users access the Internet through these, they must
go through the Vietpac public packet switched data network based on
the X.25 protocol, Lien said.
With Vietpac, users have to pay for inbound phone calls only, but the
connection speed is slow because connections are made through the transfer
from the X.25 protocol to the TCP/IP protocol of the Internet. The connection
speed is only 14.4kbps maximum.
With E1 backbone lines, access is more direct, and the speed reaches
33.6kbps. "This is the quickest in Vietnam, and many countries worldwide
as well," Lien added.
VDC, the largest ISP in Vietnam, now has 7,600 Internet users. The users
increased 1,600 over the last two months and account for some 65 percent
of the total in the country. The company has launched its Internet service
in all 61 provinces and cities through post offices.
VDC has average number of 800 subscribers per month, according to Lien.
According to Lien, the access fee to the Internet remains too high for
most local people. User trends show that individuals and private companies
are down to 27 percent of users from 44 percent in June. That is mainly
due to very high Internet access fee, Lien said.
(David Tran, Asia BizTech Correspondent)
<Visit News Center for more Asian news.>