National fluctuations in the Bhutan Telecom network causes issues for users

Bhutan’s nationwide telecommunications network experienced widespread fluctuations on friday around 11 am, leaving citizens frustrated and disconnected from the digital world. The outage, which began in the early morning hours, impacted essential services and digital communication channels for the telecom users.

Bhutan Telecom, said that there were partial fluctuations in the network due to technical issues. Bhutan Telecom has yet to elaborate on the reasons. It was said that a detailed report would be submitted to the Bhutan Infocomm and Media Authority (BICMA). Depending on the cause and after a thorough investigation, a fine may or may not be imposed.

Due to the network outage, customers who attempted to make transactions at banks and shops found themselves facing unexpected double charges, leading to confusion and anxiety.

Tenzin Dorji, a bank customer in Thimphu, shared his ordeal, saying, “I withdrew money from the ATM, but I was charged twice for the same transaction. When I contacted the bank, they couldn’t provide an immediate solution due to the network issue. It’s frustrating, and I’m not sure when my money will be refunded.”

Shopkeepers have also reported similar issues, with inventory systems registering double deductions for purchases. Sonam Tshering, a shop owner, expressed his frustration, “Customers are angry and demanding refunds for transactions. This is damaging my business reputation.”

The situation has escalated beyond financial transactions. As people struggled to make payments for essential services like taxis and restaurants, drivers and business owners are concerned about customers either not paying or attempting to exploit the outage by claiming their payments didn’t go through.

Karma Wangchuk, a taxi driver, said, “I can’t trust passengers right now. Some are refusing to pay, saying the network is down, while others might intentionally use this situation to avoid paying altogether.”

Fortunately, after the problem was fixed at about 1:30 pm, half of the impacted Bhutan Telecom customers could access their internet connection.

Bhutan Telecom has apologized to its clients and said that network services have been restored in an official statement.

BICMA is now studying the case, as a regulator.

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