Headline: High Speed Internet (18/5/2011)
Summary: Now that almost 100% of gewogs in Bhutan have cellular coverage, focus is shifted to closing the broadband digital divide.
Our take: A fibre optic network providing high-speed Internet to all gewogs has enormous potential, from distance learning to tele-medicine. It can also enable IT-based businesses in remote areas helping to mitigate rural-urban migration. The question is, as always, how will the technology be used. Will the to-be-established community centres be used as learning centres, communication centres, or will they turn into video-game/Facebook parlours/?
Headline: BICMA facilities better internet services (21/5/2011)
Summary: Software offered by LIRNEasia that will measure your Internet connection's performance is available for free download at www.broadbandasia.info. Note: It was not easy to summarize this article, which has a rather misleading headline and some confusing technical information (e.g., the "speed of the internet" is not "300 millisecond return trip time")
Our take: With more and more users complaining about BT's internet speed, this is a good initiative. But what is one supposed to do with the test results? Feel free to share them with us!
Headline: BlackBerry refuses Bhutan (21/5/2011)
Summary: Research in Motion (RIM), the manufacturer of the BlackBerry smartphone, is not going to install a BlackBerry server in Bhutan.
Our take: One can understand the business logic behind the decision by RIM, but this is bad news for the few locals who own the device - known also as the CrackBerry due to its addictive nature - and will not be able to use its more advanced features. BlackBerry-addicted visitors to Bhutan will also be disappointed.
Bonus: Jerry Sienfeld and the BlackBerry.
Headline: Pills for piracy (21/5/2011)
Summary: In an attempt to combat software piracy in Bhutan, an effort will be made to offer Microsoft products (especially MS Office) at reduced prices.
Our take: Good initiative! However, this will require more than a monetary discount. It is also about a change of mindset. But equally important: Why doesn't Microsoft provide free or almost-free software for schools, colleges and other educational and academic institutes in Bhutan, in the same way it does in other countries?