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.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Again, Bhutan is cut off from the world

For the better part of today, Bhutan was cut off from the world: DrukNet's international Internet connection was down. This means that users in Bhutan were not able to access international websites, and people outside Bhutan were not able to reach .bt domains. (The last major Internet outage was reported here about two months ago). When I called DrukNet this morning, I was told that the fibre optic line to Hong Kong had some issues. There's also a line connecting Bhutan to London which apparently was intact. It is not clear why traffic was not routed through there.

For many countries today, a major Internet outage entails huge economic losses. This is still not the case in Bhutan, where most people and businesses don't rely on the Internet for their livelihood. However, dependency on the Internet will increase in upcoming years. Similar to water, electricity or phone service, Internet access will eventually become an essential utility.

P.S.: As a service to its customers, it would be useful for DrukNet to provide up-to-date information on outages and estimated time of resolution. Unfortunately, there was no mention of the outage on DrukNet's website (which was accessible within Bhutan during the outage) or BT's twitter account (which can be updated using SMS). Another medium for communicating with the public is SMS. This is currently used by Bhutan Telecom to advertise its own products, but it can also be used to inform the public about such outages.