Chhimi Dema

The much-anticipated third internet gateway for Bhutan, after eight years of negotiations with India and Bangladesh, is expected to materialise soon.

The gateway will be established in Gelephu, Sarpang, and will connect Gelephu-Bongaigaon-Agartala in India to Cumilla-Kuakata in Bangladesh to Singapore.

The gateway is expected to maintain data redundancy (storing data in two or more places to provide data in events of service disruptions or data loss) and accelerate the country’s digital goals with improved internet connections.

Bhutan currently has three nationwide Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with international Internet gateways—Bhutan Telecom, Tashi Infocomm, and NANO through the Siliguri corridor in India.

Foreign and External Trade Minister, Dr Tandi Dorji, said that the work has “already begun” to establish the third gateway. “India would provide the internet connection through the gateway at USD 1.5 per Mbps.”

Currently, the country is paying USD 7 per Mbps for internet connection through the Siliguri corridor.

The country would be paying USD 3 per Mbps to Bangladesh for the internet connection through the third gateway.

During Prime Minister Lotay Tshering’s visit to Bangladesh in March last year, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, said Bangladesh would provide Bhutan with internet bandwidth at “a friendly rate”.

The ambassador of Bangladesh to Bhutan, Shib Nath Roy, said that Bangladesh is “ready” to provide internet connection from Singapore.

He said that providing internet connection to Bhutan is an effort to support each other to achieve digital advancements. “Bangladesh is implementing Smart Bangladesh Vision 2041 that aims to transform the country into a technologically advanced and sustainable society. While doing this, we want our neighbour Bhutan to rise with us.”