A few days ago a big shipment of broadband modems has finally arrived at the Bhutan Telecom offices. Many people who have been waiting patiently for the device are now rushing to upgrade their home Internet connection. Indeed, at Nu. 399/month, a 256kbps broadband connection is an attractive alternative to dial-up. In addition, more folks are connecting to the Internet using their cellphones and mobile modems, now that B-Mobile have reduced their 3G tariffs.
However, as more and more home users are getting online, the network is becoming congested, and access to international websites is becoming sluggish. Typical DSL over-subscription ratios (a.k.a. contention ratios) are 1:5 to 1:25, but it seems that BT has far exceeded these values, with all the apparent side effects. In addition to network hiccups, network disconnects are becoming frequent. The BT DNS servers sometimes fail under an ever-increasing load. With a total international capacity of less than 100Mbit/s, we won't be surprised if the network - which until recently has been under-utilized - will soon become over-utilized. With all the talk about IT parks etc, capacity has to be increased soon, or broadband will become the bottleneck on the way to the future information society.