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To-the-home service to be made available

Optical Fibre Connectivity: To provide significantly faster access to the worldwide web, internet service provider (ISP) Druknet, beginning this month, has begun providing optical fibre connectivity all the way to customer’s homes.

Currently, fixed line internet broadband subscribers usually avail the service through telephone wires, which in comparison to optical fibre wires, is limited in its bandwidth or capacity to transmit data.  This bandwidth further decreases as the distance from the ISP to the customer increases, resulting in significantly slower transfer speeds than indicated on the subscription package.

With optical fibre connectivity stretching from the home itself to the internet, users will not only be able to access truer speeds, but those in excess of highest offered by the ISP today: 2 Mbps.

With FTTH, each customer could avail up to 100 Mbps, that is, once Druknet introduces such high-speed packages.

The service, called fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), has already been installed in at least 30 national pension provident fund (NPPF) class-I quarters in Thimphu, according to Druknet general manager, Tshering Norbu, which will be expanded to 90 homes.

But Tshering Norbu also pointed out that it will be up to customers, who are currently using telephone connections for internet access, to decide if they want to migrate to the FTTH service.

Druknet has also already connected 35 buildings with fibre optics in Lungtenphu, as part of its fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) service.

From the end point of a fibre optic connection, 24 apartments can avail the FTTH service, according to Tshering Norbu. “The target is to complete FTTB to all the buildings in that local area plan-I by first quarter next year,” he pointed out.

Druknet is currently attempting to replace significant portions of the telephone wire network with fibre optics, in an effort to increase its service quality, which regularly comes under fire for poor delivery.

It has branched out fibre optics to seven end points in Thimphu, from where telephone wires are used to connect customers.  It has also installed one point each in Paro and Phuentsholing.

Currently, Bhutan Telecom is bearing all costs of laying this network.

On whether Druknet will be willing to lay and bear costs of laying fibre optic connection all the way to a customer’s house, that is not covered under the company’s plan, Tshering Norbu said it would depend on business viability.

“Just like the government of other countries do, we believe our government too will provide assistance in terms of subsidy.”

In terms of cost comparison between copper and fibre networks, he pointed out that optical fibre wire is not significantly more expensive than copper wire, and that, in some cases, depending on scale, the costs could be equal.

Currently, the government is also in process of linking all gewogs to a fibre network.

Tshering Norbu pointed out that every country will be building their networks on such infrastructure.

By Gyalsten K Dorji

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