…The main catalyst for the third internet gateway is Bangladesh
The price negotiation for third internet gateway of Bhutan has verbally come to an end, the government is waiting for counterparts to seal the deal soon on papers through proper channels.
For the additional price to implement the third internet gateway, Bhutan requested International Long Distance (ILD) in India a lower price for the full link, lower than USD 5, India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has agreed to the price requested by Bhutan.
To start with, the price together was USD 10 per mbps, and with India agreeing to Bhutan’s price, it will cost Bhutan below USD 5 per mbps.
Bhutan has requested India to provide the link at USD 1 to 2.
Today, Bhutan is paying close to USD 7 per mbps.
Bangladesh has provided friendship rate of USD 3 per mbps for Bhutan’s third internet gateway.
This was conveyed verbally to Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Tandi Dorji during the two-day visit of India’s External Affairs Minister.
However, Lyonpo said that the government is awaiting the green signal through formal channels. “India has agreed to provide us the price we have requested,” Lyonpo said. “This price is not that low in their own states,” added Lyonpo.
Additionally, Lyonpo said it will be a historical rate for the country to procure at such rate. This, Lyonpo added that the usage of IT is significantly growing over the years, people will need it more, and that the impact of this will be felt by everyone down the line.
Citing the growing imports of electricity for once electricity-rich countries like ours, Lyonpo said people will feel the importance sooner. This is the reason, Lyonpo say it is a big achievement, and historic for the country.
Lyonpo also thanked the role of Indian Embassy. “Indian Embassy has been very supportive in this regard,” Lyonpo said. He also thanked Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj, Embassy of India.
Additionally, Lyonpo also thanked Government of India for the generous support.
However, Lyonpo said, to begin with, the main catalyst for the third internet gateway is Bangladesh. Lyonpo thanked the Government of Bangladesh for the friendship rate at USD 3 per mbps.
Bhutan has three nationwide Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with international Internet gateways—Bhutan Telecom, Tashi Infocomm, and NANO. All of them pass through the Siliguri corridor in India.
Reflecting that both the internet gateway run through the Siliguri Corridor, and when the cyclone in 2021 hit the region, Bhutan suffered internet outage.
Lyonpo said that with the third internet gateway, Bhutan will have international connection reliability, and provide proper redundancy. “Riding on this grid, it will help the eastern parts of the country,” Lyonpo said, adding, ‘the line will also help reach the unreached pockets of the country’.
The Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said that internet is meant to be absolutely free. “People have not become dependent on smartphones but internet,” the Prime Minister said.
Lyonchhen also highlighted that with time, we must as a nation must push to reduce the data charges, or access accessibility to internet.
The Prime Minister said that internet is the main vehicle that will actually lead us to the claim to be a literate society. “Internet should be free,” Lyonchhen added.