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23 Nov

How do you make a happy nation happier?

By: Namit
Nov 23, 2016

Talking is sharing. And sharing increases happiness. VNL is helping connect the unconnected in remote Bhutan through its rural and remote wireless mobile solutions.

In a globally connected world, there are just a handful of countries that still remain an enigma. Bhutan is one of them. Everyone knows about its ‘happiness’ quotient, and many ascribe it in a large part to its choice of remaining away from the mainstream.

That’s the image, outside. But what about within the country? Do the Bhutanese want isolation or connectivity with the rest of the world? And what about becoming more connected within?

Even as Bhutan opens itself cautiously to the rest of the world, one of the biggest challenges is to connect its hinterland. Daunting terrain and sparse population have always hindered infrastructural development in the interiors of the Happy Kingdom.

Until of course, mobile phones arrived on the scene. Like everywhere else in the world, their effect has been dramatic. Suddenly, no distance is too long, no road untraveled, and no mountain insurmountable. Connectivity is changing the face of Bhutan like never before. Wives and parents in villages are able to connect with their loved ones working far away, monks in remote monasteries are able to keep in touch with their families, and tourists now feel less isolated. Farmers now have access to information and markets, doctors are within reach, and the government can interface more easily with citizens.

Today, it is difficult to imagine how life in these difficult areas would be if there was no connectivity.

VNL is proud to be instrumental in connecting the unconnected through its rural and remote wireless mobile solutions. Working with Tashi Cell, we have setup mobile towers and low-powered base-stations in key remote locations, enabling people in distant areas to connect with the rest of the world.

Working against all odds, going where there are no roads, or transport, VNL has provided the equipment, know how and training to install, erect and upgrade mobile communication towers in 13 sites across rural Bhutan. To ensure they are always on, the towers are solar-powered, with sufficient battery back up for 5 non-sunny days.

According to Tashi Tshering, MD of Tashi Cell, “Low cost solutions like VNL’s make sense as they are optimized for extremely low subscriber populations—sometimes as low as 200.” Adds Ganga Sharma, GM, Network Operations, “when compared to other suppliers, VNL’s solar-powered solutions are ideal as they have a significantly lower CAPEX and OPEX. And whenever we need support, VNL are never more than a call away.”

If Bhutan is happy, so are we. After all, if we can help connect people with the rest of the world, it can only make the world a much happier place!

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