Chimi Dema | Dagana

Without cable television (TV) connection in Tseza gewog, Dagana, Dorji Zam first subscribed to the direct-to-home (DTH) TV package in October, last year.

Barely a week after installation, she said that the device broke down.

“The operator came and repaired but it didn’t last more than three days,” she said. “I purchased a new TV set but it has also gone defunct.”

She spent Nu 4,630 to install a DTH TV.  After both her TV screens were damaged, she gave up.

Other residents in the gewog said that adverse weather conditions affect TV signal.

As one of the remotest gewogs, many residents in Tseza depend on DTH TV to tune into local news. 

Today, more than 90 households have subscribed to DTH TV.  Earlier, residents were using old C-Band satellite dishes.

Chimi Wangmo from Peling village who installed it recently has access to a good TV signal at the moment. “Both the signal and channels are much better compared to the old dish connection,” she said.

Tseza Gup Phurba said that, although connecting cable TV was feasible, residents opted for DTH TV as they need to do payment only once during the installation. “In addition, a year-long service warranty is also provided.”

He said that the gewog administration had made several attempts since 2018 to facilitate connection of cable TV. “Only nine households showed interest then.”

“The cable operator disagreed to provide the connection due to the possible losses it would incur on him,” the gup said.

With more than 40 residents interested in subscribing to DTH TV, he said that he requested one of the authorised operators last year, which was later approved by the dzongkhag administration.

On signal issues, the gup said that, except in monsoon, that wasn’t a problem.  He said that rain and adverse weather affected signal transmission.

“There were times where a few satellite dishes suffered signal loss last year,” he said.

The service provider, Ugyen Tshering said that, although there were minor signal problems in the beginning, everything works fine as of now. “I’ve been attending to complaints and problems from time to time,” he said. “I’ve been solving issues virtually when I can’t make it there.”

He also said that two of his staffs were visiting the gewogs frequently to monitor problems and provide services. 

For a few residents, he said that the main problem was with mishandling and not with the device.  While the DTH package comes with more than 100 channels, many have subscribed to only local channels.  Besides in Tseza, residents in other gewogs of Khebisa and Kana have also subscribed to Dish TV.  More than 800 households in Dagana have Dish TV installed recently.

He started the business after the Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority  (BICMA) legalised distribution and installation of Ku-band dish to rural areas last year.

BICMA, in March last year, issued a notification informing interested individual or entity to apply for the permit to distribute and install Ku-band dish and receivers to rural areas to enable rural households to access Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) television services.