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, June 22, 2013

Home Sweet Home (K2 #65)

Question of the Week 
I noticed that DrukNet has new prepaid broadband plans. Which one should I choose?
— Pem D., Thimphu

The cost of Internet access in Bhutan keeps dropping, and the speed keeps increasing. The net effect: Consumers are getting more for their money. Let’s take a short walk down memory lane: five years ago the cheapest monthly broadband package, called “DSL-1000”, was priced at a Nu 1000 and included a meager 0.5 GB of data at a crawling speed of 0.25 Mbps. With today’s cheapest package (the “Home” at Nu 400) we get eight times the amount of data (4 GB) and a maximum download speed of 2 Mbps. Not bad, but we’re still behind other countries. According to the NetIndex’s Household Download Index, Bhutan ranks #179 out of 184 countries, so there’s still room for improvement. However, compared to just a few years ago, this is a major upgrade.

DrukNet offers both prepaid and postpaid plans. The postpaid packages are substantially more expensive compared to the prepaid ones, so avoid them if you can. Let’s focus on the prepaid plans. There are currently three prepaid packages: Home, Office, and Enterprise. All of them offer the same speed (up to 2 Mbps) and the same expiration period (30 days). The only difference between the three plans is their cost and the amount of included data. As seen in the table, the Home package offers the best rate at only Nu 100 per GB. The other two packages (Office and Enterprise) are more expensive, and I couldn't find any good reason to use them. With the expensive packages you pay more per GB. In addition, you are also at risk of wasting a lot of money if you forget to recharge before expiration.

If you are a heavy broadband user and are thinking of recharging using an expensive package to save multiple trips to the BT office, here’s a better alternative. Just ask the BT representative to recharge multiple times using the Home package. For example, if you need 12 GB, simply ask to recharge using the Home package (400 Nu), but three times in a row. You will end up paying only Nu 1200 for 12 GB. This is Nu 300 cheaper than recharging with the 12 GB Office package.

Why does DrukNet offer the Office and Enterprise packages? If you find out, please let me know.

Readers are encouraged to submit technology-related questions to