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, March 3, 2011

Mobile broadband for closing Bhutan's looming digital divide

Mobile broadband is an amazing technology. I recently spent a few weeks in Laos, and needed Internet access when roaming around the country. In Vientiane I got a few 3G-enabled prepaid SIMs with the different operators, which together gave me excellent coverage all over the place, including some remote provinces. Bandwidth was excellent, usually with download rates exceeding 1Mbps. It is not uncommon for locals to use 3G as their only Internet connection.

Back to Bhutan: 3G is available only with B-Mobile, and only in Thimphu. Even in the capital, download rates are disappointing, and hiccups are common, so you cannot depend on 3G as your sole Internet connection. Many people outside of Thimphu and the bigger towns have no access to broadband Internet. I wonder: Is it time to take mobile broadband seriously? With B-Mobile soon covering all gewogs - an impressive achievement by itself - a solid, reliable 3G infrastructure will enable access to broadband Internet all over the Kingdom.

"Bring me 3G before I turn into a goat"

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