ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Is Broadband Becoming the New Dial-Up?

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.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Online Tuition-Free University

What a great initiative: The U.N. has announced the launch of the world's first tuition-free, online university. The university was founded by Shai Reshef, an Israeli entrepreneur. Currently two degrees are available, one in computer science and the other in business administration. There are some minimal fees (e.g., enrollment fees are $10 to $50, depending on the country of origin), but tuition is free. For more information, check the website of UoPeople. To read the official announcement, click here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bhutan Post SMS Service?

While using the Bhutan Post website to calculate international postage (very useful - here's the link to the online application), I stumbled upon the Bhutan GPO SMS Service page. It has a place to enter a mobile phone number and a short text message, and also a "Send" button. I wonder if this application is supposed to send an SMS to a subscriber in Bhutan? I tried it, but it hangs. If you have more information about this application, please post.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

BNB's SMS banking down?

I've been trying to use Bhutan National Bank's SMS banking in the last few days, in order to get my balance. This is done by sending an SMS to 6070 with the adequate text code. I've tried multiple times, but have not been able to receive an SMS back with the information. However, I am still receiving SMS messages from BNB whenever a transaction above Nu. 5000 is taking place. Hence, it appears that something is wrong with their ability to receive incoming SMS messages. If anyone has information or other experience, please post.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

3G Cheaper than DSL

B-Mobile has recently slashed down the tariff of mobile Internet access (see announcement here). It has also added an "unlimited data" postpaid package for Nu 999/month. This is a terrific deal, and I won't be surprised if this is the cheapest unlimited 3G package in the world.

Remember that the Bhutan Telecom broadband plans (DSL) do not include "unlimited data" plans. So if you're using fixed-line broadband and consuming more than 5GB or so of data per month, it might make sense for you to switch to 3G. This will also add the capability of being able to use the Internet away from your office or home. There are a number of caveats, however: The initial price of the cellular modem is high (around Nu 5000); you will only get 3G-speed in Thimphu (in other Dzongkhags the speed will be slower); and the connection is technically harder to share if you have multiple computers in the office, although it is doable.

BOB's got Internet Banking

Bank of Bhutan's new Internet Banking portal is here. The new system, as well as BOB's new SMS banking feature, was recently covered by Kuensel.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Final Workshop: Decision Making Using Excel

(Posted by Galit)

I will be conducting the workshop "Decision Making Using Excel" for the last time next week. The dates are set to June 10-12, at Rigsum Institute's new campus (behind Hotel Pedling).

The workshop is intended for decision makers in government, corporate, and private organizations who have at least basic knowledge of Excel. For more information see To register please