Phub Dem 

With the official launch of Bhutan Telecom (BT)’s business continuity management system (BCMS), officials said there won’t be much communication failure due to network congestion during major disasters.

As of today, BT did not have any procedures and plans to recover connectivity during major disasters, which resulted in the failure to prevent congestions and communication failures.

Officials explained that if a disaster damages BT’s core networks located in a single building in Thimphu, communication for both national and international services would be affected depending on the severity of the damage.

However, the business continuity plan (BCP) will now provide guidance to BT during disaster and connectivity failures to continue providing telecommunication services and quickly restore normal operations.

The plan includes mitigation and rapid restoration of communication service to deal with potential threats to essential ICT services during a disaster.

The minister for information and communication, Karma Donnen Wangdi, said the launch of BCP was in line with the government’s efforts to prepare the country for disasters.

He said that with BCP in place, BT would be able to mitigate potential risks during normal operation and implement rapid restoration of essential communication services during major disasters, which would facilitate emergency rescue and restoration works by the government.

“BCP project will not only benefit Bhutan Telecom as the direct recipient of the assistance through JICA’s technical cooperation programme but also the country as a whole,” the minister said.

For instance, if an earthquake hit the country, BT team will trace the affected services and the system will analytically restore the services as soon as possible so that BT could help the rescue team in terms of communication services.

BT’s technical director, Karma Tshewang, said that the plan has set procedures and systematic way for restoration. “We have prioritised emergency numbers and list of customers who need to restore first before we go into restoring the whole network because it will be a difficult task to restore it at one go.”

He added that the safety of employees engaged in the daily operation during normal conditions and recovery efforts following a disaster would be accorded the highest priority. “Safety of the employees will not be compromised under any circumstance.”

There are two components of the project.

The hardware component is the new mobile core in Jakar, which was launched in June last year. And the software component is BMCS. BMCS constitute two components, the basic policy document, and code of conduct document for various sections of the BCMS organogram.

Acknowledging every disaster is unique in terms of damage, Karma Tshewang said that the code of conduct for BT’s BMCS was designed to enable BT to respond to any kind of disaster ensuring “safety first in every instance”.

He said that various sections of the BCMS would carry out drills for different scenarios of network failure due to natural disasters, which will enable timely actions during a real disaster situation and also during normal operating times.