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Thailand Pushes US$ 2.6 Bil to Expand Broadband Nationwide

Information and Communications Technology Ministry (MICT) is pushing ahead with its Smart Thailand scheme with planned budget of THB 80 billion (US$ 2.6 billion) to expand a fibre-optic broadband network nationwide.


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“We want the country’s broadband penetration to reach 80% by 3 years, and by 95% by 2020,” said ICT Minister Anudith Nakornthap on the 20th of Feburary 2012.

He revealed that the broadband expansion is under the ‘Smart Network’ plan in which the ministry will adopt a co-network collaboration with private operators to provide network connectivity to sixteen million “last mile” households through exisiting infrastructure for 3G, long-term evolution (4G) and Fiber to the Subscriber (FTTX).

Under the new concession licensing, 1% of company revenue will go towards the Universal Service Obligation Fund managed by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

The MICT will also support the establishment of National Broadband Network Company (NBNCo) to integrate the investment and future direction of the country’s broadband network on the public-private partnership, Nakornthap added.

Private operators can leverage their existing network infrastructure in the collaboration with the NBNCo to avoid the overlapped investment on the same projects and encourage shared facilities implementation, he explained.

“We hope increasing the communications network will reduce people’s IT portion from 6% of total spending to 3%, falling to 1% eventually,” he said. “Our goal is to lift the country’s ICT ranking to 34th by 2015 from 59th in 2010.”

Apart from Smart Network plan, the MICT will also initiate the use of e-services in various forms under its ‘Smart Government’ policy, said MICT Permanent Secretary Jirawan Boonperm.

Smart Government includes ‘Smart Education’ to support distant learning for schools in remote areas, ‘Smart Health’ to enhance the use of mobile health, ‘Smart Government’ to encourage the access to e-government services, ‘Smart Agriculture’ to provide useful husbandry information directly to the communities’ computer kiosk, and further developpe Geographic Information System (GIS) database, according to her.

The recent launch of Smart Province in Nakhon Nayok province is also one of the MICT’s Smart Thailand scheme.

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