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, September 30, 2010

Keep on loving your BT fixed-line phone

Everyone in Bhutan, from Phuentsholing's business people to Laya's yak herders, seems to carry a mobile phone (or two) these days. And when home - even when a fixed-line phone is available - it is quite tempting to keep using your slick and shiny handset, with the address book and all. But there are many reasons to hang on to your fixed-line and keep using your dusty, plain, MP3-less, camera-free telephone that lies in the corner. Here they are:

  1. Health: Mobile handsets emit powerful electromagnetic waves which are absorbed by our brains. It is still not clear what are the health implications of this kind of radiation, but many people believe that there are significant risks involved, especially for children. Fixed line phones are virtually radiation-free. 
  2. Money: The monthly service charge for a fixed line is Nu 100, but this includes Nu 100 worth of free calls. So if you're not taking advantage of your free calls, you're throwing away 3 momo plates' worth of money every month.
  3. Tariff: If I got it right, local calls (within the same area code) are terribly cheap (Nu 0.6/minute). Calls to different Dzongkhangs (Nu 3.5), and calls to mobile phones (Nu 3/minute) are much more expensive. So if you're calling a mobile number or a different Dzongkhag, it will probably be cheaper to use your mobile handset, but remember: you might be paying with your health.
  4. Internet: To connect to the Internet from home, you'll need either dial-up or broadband Internet. You will need a fixed line for either. (Broadband has two advantages over dial-up: It is much speedier, and you can keep making and receiving calls while surfing the Internet).
  5. Fax: This probably affects only a small number of people, but still... to send or receive a facsimile, you will need a fixed line (and a fax machine, but that's a different story).
Last but not least, there are a few "secret" features that are available with your fixed line. More information in an upcoming post.

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