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Expanding Public Service FM radio to rural communities

Year when project approved: 

The Bhutan Broadcasting Service depends largely on short wave and medium-power FM transmissions to cover the difficult mountainous topography of the country. A large number of areas are not adequately covered through the current system. The project supported Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) Corporation to cover three significant areas in western Bhutan with localized FM radio transmissions relayed from BBS' main 1 KW FM transmitters in Dobchula and Takti. The project provided funds to purchase small transmitters and associated installations with the aim of increasing both the coverage and the technical quality of BBS' national service.

Project details

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Beneficiary name: 
Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS)
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Location and contacts
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Follow-up and achievments
Summary of the project implementation: 

There was considerable delay in the implementation of the project, largely due to difficulties with supply of both locally and internationally-sourced equipment. UNESCO and Bhutan Broadcasting Service Corporation (BBSC) entered into a contract in March 2002; however the international suppliers were unable to deliver the equipment before August 2003; there were simultaneous delays in procuring solar power equipment locally. The interim time was used to refine the solution, determine the best sites for installation and fine points of implementation.

Summary of the project evaluation: 
Achieved outputs: 
The BBS' national broadcast service has expanded coverage and improved technical quality. Three districts, Samtse, Haa and Tsirang, now have localized FM transmission using strategically placed, low watt transmitters relaying signals from main BBS transmitters. The transposers are located on mountain peaks with clear line-of-site to majority of villages in the Samtse and Tsirang districts and the entire Haa Valley. Mobile FM reception is now possible along the major highways connecting Phuntsoling, bordering India, with Paro and Thimphu, the capital. Preliminary feedback indicates that improvements in reception and quality of the signal in the three districts and along the major transit route have significantly increased the size and regularity of radio listenership.