English | Dzongkha Monday, October 21, 2019

SATRC-20 held in Paro

Sangay Chezom, Paro
Aug 30, 2019

Members of South Asian Telecommunication Regulatory Council (SATRC) met in Paro to discuss the technical perspectives of the 5G internet and broadband connectivity and creating a roadmap for development and formulating policies.

The member countries are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The SARTC-20 is hosted by Bhutan Infocomm and Media Authority (BIMCA).

“We are trying to cope with changes in telecom services. As you know already 4G is going obsolete and 5G is coming in, which means more speed. But this again requires more capital investment and upholding of the equipment. We are trying to do customise and bring in better technologies but as much as at very affordable prices,” Jigme Wangdi,  the Director of BIMA, said.

However, some villages of the South Asian countries are still not connected with telecom services.

Bhutan is also struggling with connectivity and this is mainly because of the rugged terrain. BICMA and the telecom service providers are trying to connect every village in Bhutan at least with 3G service.

“Our terrain is tough and in terms of investment it is really capital intensive and the cost of providing services really high, thereby affecting the tariff. I mean the subscribers avail at what price so that increases. When the service provider couldn’t bring down the prices, it becomes the issue of affordability,” Jigme Wangdi added.

He said the authority is also working on ensuring the quality on connectivity along the highways.

“Coverage along the highway is equally important, so coverage along the Thimphu-Paro and Thimphu–Phuentshogling highways are done, we have called upon service providers to make sure that the there is no call drops all along the highways. This same modality will be followed towards the east-west highway, which is next in our pipeline.”

At the two-day SARTC meeting, participants also discussed on policy and regulatory issues in the member countries.

SATRC was formed in 1997 by an initiative of APT and ITU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. The SATRC is responsible for discussion and coordination of all the issues relating to regulations in telecommunication and ICT which are of common interest to the telecommunication regulators in South Asian countries.

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