English | Dzongkha Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Two decades of internet in Bhutan- the way forward

Sangay Chezom, Paro
Jun 5, 2019

Two decades ago, Bhutanese were introduced to the internet. Today with greater access to affordable smartphones and wider internet access, people are not only surfing the web on their computers for information but also scrolling down the phone for almost everything. Bhutan Network Operators Group (btNOG) celebrated 20 years of internet journey in Bhutan with 116 Information and Communication Technology professionals from across the country in Paro.

Bhutan Network Operators Group is a group of volunteers of Bhutan ICT community. The 6th annual meet was organised on the theme, “Celebrating 20 years of Internet in Bhutan.”

“The internet was first launched in 1999 and back then we had a very limited capacity. We were using satellite connectivity back then. Today we have around 8 ISPs with 3 major ISP importing around a total of 30GPPS bandwidth. So internet development has been rapid,” said Karma Jamyang, the Chairperson of btNOG 6 Coordination Team.

Jichen Thinley, the General Manger of Corporate Planning and Strategy with Bhutan Telecom has been associated with the internet since internet was introduced in Bhutan. He says despite lots of challenges in terms of manpower, infrastructure and work efficiency, the internet has helped develop the country.

“The major impact of the internet today is on social media where remotest parts of Bhutan, our fellow citizen in the villages use wechat to communicate. Even in urban centres, they use whatsapp. The social media has been a big impact on the use of internet. Equally the government is able to promote services to its people through the G2C services. Education is one big front where internet is being widely used.”

After 4G wireless communication LTE, Bhutan Telecom is working into venturing to 5G.

“The next generation 5G is already on trial. Some of the operators are already using it. Bhutan will not be left behind and 5G itself has it on challenges and with 5G will come to the usage of IOT, artificial intelligence and this is something we are working on and we are actually studying it,” Jichen Thinley added.

The btNOG annual meet provided workshops to ICT professionals on Network Monitoring and management, Routing and switching and Network Security with packet analysis.

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