All gewogs to get 3G services by next year: MoIC minister

All the gewogs will be connected by 3G services with the help of South Asian satellite by June 2018, according to information and communications minister, Lyonpo D.N Dhungyel. The minister was responding to Member of Parliament from North-Thimphu, Tshering, who asked about the government’s plans to upgrade 3G services in high altitudes in the parliament yesterday. The government plans to establish a ground station which can provide better telecommunication services across the country.

“Soon after establishing the ground station in the country, with the help of South Asian satellite, the government can provide 3G services in all the gewogs,” the Lyonpo added.

Currently, 169 gewogs in the country have 3G services facilitated by TashiCell and Bhutan Telecom.

“In high altitudes like Soe, Naro, Lingshi, Laya, and Lunana, 3G services are unavailable because these places do not have electricity,” the minister added.

Further, the minister said places like Lingshi and Soe received electricity just a month ago without which it is of no use providing 3G services.

“TashiCell and Bhutan Telecom refused to provide 3G services at high altitudes since it is not a good business for them and they will not make much profit,” Lyonpo reasoned adding that it costs around Nu 5mn to upgrade 2G service to 3G service for a gewog so for four high-altitude gewogs, it  would cost almost Nu 20mn, which would be too expensive for the current service providers.

“In the 11th five year plan, the government plans to upgrade 3G services in high altitude places with the help of a universal service fund next year,” concluded Lyonpo.

Jigme Wangchen from Thimphu