Smartphones have made life easier for many. Today, almost everyone in the country owns a smartphone to keep up with the changing world. However, there are still some pockets where living with a smartphone becomes a frustration every day. It is because of the poor mobile network connectivity. In Punakha, the issue is particularly acute in about four gewogs where even call service is unstable.
While people in some parts of the country are enjoying high-speed internet on their phones, parts of Talo Gewog in Punakha is coping with the snail-paced internet speed. At a time when online business is picking up, the business people in Talo find themselves lagging behind.
The Nobgang Tsherim Group is into preserving the local cuisine by doing a restaurant business. While they keep in touch with their patrons and suppliers through the phone, the unreliable network keeps hampering their business.
According to them, the network issue is more prevalent in the upper areas of Talo.
“People coming to our restaurant always tell us that they could not reach our phone. They try to pre-order before visiting the restaurant. This is one of the problems we face because of the poor network while running a restaurant,” said Namgay Wangmo from Talo.
“We have been living with the network issue for quite some time now. Without a proper network, we can’t even connect with each other in times of an emergency. It was not so bad in the past, but the network has turned to worse since about two to three years ago,” said Pema in Talo.
“The network is very bad here. There is a little coverage when we are outside, but we can’t access anything while at home. Both call and internet services of TCell and Bmobile are unavailable here,” added Wangchuk in Talo.
The same problem is plaguing the residents of some of the villages in Kabesa, Goen Shari and Guma Gewogs.
Some people in Guma Gewog claim that the mobile network is so poor in their area that even the call service is useless.
“I stay at Lamina. The mobile network connectivity is very poor at our place. We use BMobile, and we cannot even make a call from there because of the poor network. And the same is with Tashi users,” said Samser Rohaman, a construction worker in Lakh in Guma Gewog.
“Being a Tshogpa, we have to keep the net of our phones always on. While the Gewog office sends us important notices in the evening, we can only receive the same in the morning because of the fluctuating network,” added Samdrup, the Tshogpa of Baymenang_Phulingsoom_Wangwakha chiwog in Guma.
Meanwhile, the Bhutan Telecom office in Punakha says that the office is working to improve the network coverage in these places.
The office is planning to install a network tower in upper Talo within this year. A preliminary report will also be sent soon to the head office to install a 4G tower in Tongzhina and Rangrekha in Kabesa Gewog.
They are also planning to install 4G towers in Goen Tsephu and Nangsel Goenpa in Goen Shari Gewog within this year. The office is also going to soon do a study on the complaints of the poor network in Guma Gewog. And work to instal an additional 4G tower in Baymenang_Phulingsoom_Wangwakha chiwog will soon be executed to decongest the network.
And the Manager of the Tashi Cell office in Wangdue Phodrang says the office did a study in Talo recently after receiving complaints about its poor network coverage. The office said it did not find any issue.
The office also completed a study on its network coverage in the areas near Goen Shari Gewog. There are also plans to install new network towers in Tongzhina and Rangrekha in Kabesa Gewog. The office says a proposal to install a new tower in Yebisa in Chhubu Gewog is also ready.
Changa Dorji, Punakha
Edited by Sonam