Afterword

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.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Broadband bandwidth is not what it seems to be

Bhutan Telecom offers a few broadband packages, starting at Nu 399 and going all the way to Nu 2499.
Here are the options in a table similar to the one on the BT website:

Package NameCircuit BandwidthTariff (Nn)Data Limitvalidity
PersonalUpto 256 Kbps
399.00
2.5 GB
30 days
HomeUpto 256 Kbps
799.00
5 GB
30 days
OfficeUpto 512 Kbps
1199.00
7 GB
30 days
BusinessUpto 1 Mbps
1799.00
10 GB
30 days
EnterpriseUpto 2 Mbps
2499.00
15 GB
30 days

When I first subscribed to BT's broadband service, I expected the specified "circuit bandwidth" to be the maximum download speed; this is what ISPs usually do when advertising broadband packages.

But not with Bhutan Telecom.
ThimphuTech has learned that the download speed - the flow of data from the web to your computer - is actually 75% of the "circuit bandwidth", and the upload speed - from your computer back to the web - is 25% of the "circuit bandwidth". The sum of the download speed and upload speed is what BT advertises. These speeds are theoretical maxima. In practice, the speeds are often a fraction of the specifications, but this is probably a topic for another post.

As a service to our loyal readers, here's a more standard table of packages, showing the actual download and upload speeds:

Package NameDownload (Max)Upload (Max)Tariff (Nu)Data Limitvalidity
Personal192 Kbps64 Kbps
399.00
2.5 GB
30 days
Home192 Kbps64 Kbps
799.00
5 GB
30 days
Office384 Kbps128 Kbps
1199.00
7 GB
30 days
Business768 Kbps256 Kbps
1799.00
10 GB
30 days
Enterprise1.5 Mbps512 Kbps
2499.00
15 GB
30 days