Ex­pan­sion of B-Mo­bile con­nec­tiv­ity to Athang not pos­si­ble now

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Sonam Pen­jor/Wang­duepho­drang

When oth­ers en­joy the mod­ern fa­cil­ity of mo­bile con­nec­tiv­ity to com­mu­ni­cate and use so­cial me­dia, vil­lagers in Athang un­der Wang­duepho­drang Dzongkhag still don’t have ac­cess to Bmo­bile con­nec­tiv­ity.

Pem Zam 44 from Phag­takha chi­wog said that al­though they have TashiCell con­nec­tiv­ity but more of­ten it is not re­li­able be­cause they use the net­work from the tower which is in­stalled some­where in Da­gana Dzongkhag.

An­other vil­lager San­gay Pen­jor 48 from Lokpokha chi­wog said that while call­ing from TashiCell to B-mo­bile, the rate charge for the use of call­ing is very high which is very dif­fi­cult for them to af­ford, so he added that they re­quired B-mo­bile con­nec­tiv­ity in their com­mu­nity.

When they have emer­gen­cies, it is very dif­fi­cult for them to con­tact other parts which cre­ate more prob­lem be­cause their vil­lage lies in the most re­mote parts of the coun­try, added San­gay Pen­jor.

Sr. Man­ager of Bhutan Tele­com of Wang­duepho­drang, Tsh­er­ing Wanchuk said that al­though Bhutan Tele­com aspire to pro­vide re­li­able ser­vice to as many user as pos­si­ble but ow­ing to lim­ited bud­get, ge­o­graph­i­cal ter­rain, de­mo­graphic fac­tors and tech­no­log­i­cal ca­pa­bil­ity, Bhutan Tele­com is com­pelled to pri­or­i­tize its lim­ited re­sources. Thus it is not pos­si­ble to set up or ex­pand net­work ev­ery­where.

How­ever, he added that Bhutan Tele­com, be­ing a state owned cor­po­ra­tion, is man­dated to pro­vide re­li­able telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion ser­vices which are so­cially ben­e­fi­cial at the same time there should be rea­son­able re­turn on the in­vest­ment.

Af­ter the set­ting in of com­pe­ti­tion in com­mu­ni­ca­tion sec­tor, the busi­ness pro­por­tion part gained more promi­nence. Thus any in­vest­ment for ex­pan­sion of mo­bile net­work or set­ting up of new net­work cov­er­age must be sup­ported with sound busi­ness case. Ow­ing to the high in­vest­ment re­quired for any new ex­pan­sion, it is only fair that there is rea­son­able re­turn to their in­vest­ment, added Tsh­er­ing Wanchuk.

He fur­ther said that Athang gewog is one of the re­motest vil­lages with sparsely pop­u­lated and set­tle­ment are scat­tered un­der Wang­due Dzongkhag and un­til re­cently did not have elec­tric­ity or road con­nec­tiv­ity.

“When com­pared to other places, Athang vil­lage had very min­i­mal re­turn to the high in­vest­ment re­quired to set up Bmo­bile cel­lu­lar net­work,” said Tsh­er­ing Wanchuk.

He added that till date Bhutan Tele­com could not ex­pand their net­work to the area as they had to pri­or­i­tize on hy­dro project area and more pop­u­lated towns where there are busi­ness case as bud­get are lim­ited.

While, Bhutan Tele­com do not have im­me­di­ate plan to ex­pand cel­lur net­work at Athang vil­lage but there is al­ways a pos­si­bil­ity in near fu­ture if gov­ern­ment bear some of the in­vest­ment cost or if Bhutan Tele­com can re­lo­cate old net­work equip­ments from other places and if some parts of the fund is avail­able, added Tsh­er­ing Wanchuk.

But he added that even if net­work is ex­panded to Athang vil­lage in near fu­ture, there will not be 3G ser­vices as the cost would be high be­cause Bhutan Tele­com would need to ac­quire a dif­fer­ent set of equip­ments and ac­ces­sories for 3G ser­vice. “As there is no busi­ness case and also score lowly on so­cial ben­e­fits, we do not see 3G ser­vices at Athang in im­me­di­ate fu­ture,” said Tsh­er­ing Wanchuk.

How­ever, Of­fi­ci­at­ing Gewog Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fi­cer, Kin­ley Dukpa said that in­stal­la­tion of mo­bile tower, the geog ad­min­is­tra­tion has no role to play as it is to­tally gov­erned by the cor­po­ra­tion and pri­vate com­pany. He added that they can only re­quest the com­pa­nies to help through Geog Tshogde.

Mean­while, if the Bmo­bile cel­lu­lar ex­pands to this place it will cost about Nu.7-10 mil­lion. While, the Athang vil­lage have a to­tal of 60 house­holds with about 700 peo­ple.

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