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(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.

    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)

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