Chhimi Dema 

To ease mobile data network congestion, the government encouraged using other connections like Internet Lease Line (ILL).

According to the information and communication ministry’s record, there are only 2,354 ILL subscribers as of March this year. On the other hand, there are 656,922 mobile broadband subscribers.

The two telecom companies, Bhutan Telecom and TashiCell are now overwhelmed with demand for internet lease line.

TashiCell’s general manager, Namgay Wangchuk said that they connect five to six ILL connections every day. However, there is a shortage of routers, without which ILL cannot be connected.

To meet the demand of people for internet connection, TashiCell is exploring ways to import wireless SIM-based router but the current situation poses a challenge.  Since February the company saw a growth of around 30 percent in the number of their ILL subscribers.

Bhutan Telecom’s general manager for marketing, Jigme Thinley said they are receiving about 15 applications for lease line in a day. “But we can connect six to seven depending on the availability of manpower and related equipment or infrastructure,” he said.

Meanwhile, to decongest mobile data network Bhutan Telecom is encouraging their customers to choose broadband subscriptions by providing 50 percent additional data quota on the broadband data packages.

“Our primary objective is to try and decongest mobile data network by offloading some of the traffic to the broadband network so that customers who genuinely need to use the data on-the-go get quality connectivity,” said Jigme Thinley.

The demand for Wi-Fi routers has increased in the market. IT stores in the capital are seeing an increasing number of people looking for routers. “We have run out of stock a month and will not be able to restock due to the disruption in supply,” said a shopkeeper.