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.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

BT simplifies broadband plans, ups speed

Good news from Bhutan Telecom: The basic Nu 399 broadband plan's "circuit bandwidth" has just doubled from 256 Kbps to 512 kbps.

The previous 256 Kbps plans- there were two of them - have been eliminated, so there are now a total of three plans instead of five: 512 Kbps ("Home"), 1 Mbps ("Office"), and 2 Mbps ("Enterprise"). See table below. The postpaid plans have also been updated.

Package Name
Circuit Bandwidth
Tariff (Nn)
Data Limit
Validity
Nu/GB
Home
Up to 512 Kbps
399
2.5 GB
30 days
160
Office
Up to 1 Mbps
1499
9.0 GB
30 days
167
Enterprise
Up to 2 Mbps
2499
15.0 GB
30 days
167
The new prepaid broadband plans

The trend is positive: More bandwidth for the same price. If things work out nicely, it's a win-win situations for both consumers and BT. On the one hand, users will be able to download songs in half the time, and in general enjoy a smoother web surfing experience. Bhutan Telecom, on the other hand, should see an increase in revenues, as Nu 399 still gives you the same 2.5 GB, but with faster access consumers are bound to spend it more quickly.

My main concern is whether there is enough international capacity to avoid customer frustration. With most broadband users subscribing to the Nu 399 package, this means that the load that these users generate will increase. Since most Internet traffic is international, the load on the international lines is also bound to increase, and that will remain the bottleneck. Without a corresponding increase in international capacity, the lines may clog down.

One thing's for sure: It will be interesting to see how this change will affect Bhutan's ranking in the Download Index.

PS: Bhutan Telecom did a great job of disseminating this information. A coordinated announcement on the www.bt.bt webpage, a tweet, and a Facebook status update.