It was not the end of the world, but for those dependent on the internet for work, it appeared like one, as many panicked about how to complete their task at hand. It was not even a total breakdown, but the internet speed slowed down to a snail’s pace creating panic, and exposing our dependence on it for work or life!

There is a fault line beyond our borders and beyond our control. It was enough to expose our dependency on the digital infrastructure and not having an alternative. Unlike in developed nations, the slowdown must not have incurred losses in billions when the internet speed faltered. But it was enough to expose our dependency and the risk, if not shaking the very foundations of our interconnected society.

In an age where our lives are intricately woven into the virtual fabric of the World Wide Web, any disruption in the flow can have far-reaching consequences. Yesterday, it was the slow Internet, yet enough to disrupt the normal working routine. But with an emphasis on leveraging technology, the disruption was enough to remind us of our vulnerability.

Even in Bhutan, every facet of our daily existence has come to rely heavily on the uninterrupted availability of the Internet – from education and business to healthcare and entertainment. An immediate and noticeable impact of a slow or downed internet yesterday was on our productivity. Offices ground to a halt as employees found themselves unable to access critical files and communicate with colleagues and clients.

The economic repercussions of such disruptions can be significant in any other country, with losses mounting by the minute. Even in Bhutan, the sluggish internet connection yesterday was enough to paralyze offices or hamper communication crucial for businesses and service delivery.

From yesterday’s experience, it has become more evident that our dependence on digital infrastructure is not without risk. It is a wake-up call to invest in the resilience and redundancy of our internet infrastructure. Riding on the digital infrastructure, policymakers recognised the need for a robust, accessible, and reliable internet for the functioning of modern society.

However, after years of negotiations, we still lack a backup link to the internet. Attempts for what is called a third gateway started years ago with expectations to get the third link to the internet by 2017. It has nearly been a decade since negotiations started for a third gateway. We are still only hoping.

For the Bhutanese Youtubers and TikTokers, the disruption is only an annoyance, for many heavily dependent on internet connectedness for work or life, it is a huge problem.

The government has been attempting to establish a third link to the internet via Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh. Efforts have been ongoing for some years now. The progress, however, is not in our control like yesterday’s disturbance.

What we all know is that incorporating redundancy measures is a must. We need that to ensure connectivity even if we cannot make Bhutan a more attractive destination for IT investment. As a landlocked country, our development partners and true well-wishers could help step up their efforts or promises to ensure a third gateway or simply put, a reliable internet connection that is crucial for every aspect of life today.