Connectivity: The Japanese government has handed over equipment worth more than 20 million Japanese Yen to Bhutan Telecom yesterday to help enhance skill and knowledge of Bhutan Telecom engineers in improving and providing high broadband services to its customers.

The equipment from Japan will be used to deploy fibre networks at the pilot project in Jakar. Installation work will begin next month.

Bhutan Telecom’s chief executive officer, Tshewang Gyeltshen, said that one of the reasons why Jakar is selected for the pilot project is because Bumthang is one of the major tourist destinations and demands high and improved connectivity.

“After completion of the project we expect to have fantastic Internet system in Bumthang,” said Tshewang Gyeltshen. “Same may be replicated in other dzongkhags.”

Currently, optical fibre network is provided only in a few locations in the capital and in a few other dzongkhags.

Japanese government assisted Bhutan Telecom in introducing digital telecommunication system in the country in 1991 through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) that helped Bhutan connect with the rest of the world.

Tshewang Gyeltshen said: “As a service provider it is our interest and mandate to provide the best services. It would have been difficult for Bhutan Telecom to do it without assistance from the Japanese government.”

Technical Cooperation Project for Optical Fiber Techniques in Telecommunications Engineering in Bhutan, a JICA project, is for the duration of three years that started from May 2014 and will go on until February 2017.The equipment will also be used for the training programme related to the project in Thimphu and Jakar.

The project’s chief advisor, Junya Yamaguchi, said that the equipment include more than 150 items ranging from simple and effective tools to important measuring equipment like fault locater, optical time-domain reflectomerer (OTDR), among others.

Japan also handed over a road cutter machine that will be used to cut blacktop smoothly as per the required size, shape and depth without damaging the whole road; gas detector to check poisonous gas in underground chambers, OTDR for fiber cable inspection and trouble diagnosis.

JICA’s chief representative, Yumiko Asakuma, said that Bhutan Telecom is still using equipment from Japan that are from 1980s and it is impressive. “I hope these equipment will also be used as long as possible and benefit the people across the country.”

Dechen Tshomo