Bangkokians can now enjoy free public Wi-Fi service at 23,000 hotspots capitalwide courtesy of the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA) and True Corp.
Under the “Bangkok Wi-Fi” project to expand the service throughout the capital of Thailand, the BMA made a three-year agreement ending in April 2015 with True Internet, a subsidiary of True Corp, one of the country’s major mobile operator.
Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said wireless internet access will narrow the digital divide. He also added that three more mobile operators and internet service providers are also planning to join the “Bangkok WiFi” project to expand the service throughout the capital.
According to him, the coverage includes 450 schools under the BMA’s supervision, hospitals, transport stations, department stores, main streets and parks.
Bangkok Wi-Fi service will offer two different download speeds; 256 Kbps and 2Mbps, serving up to 150,000 users. The 2 Mbps is free for five hours per month, while the 256 Kbps is unlimited, said Non Ingkutanon, True’s general manager for broadband. Users are required to register every six months to renew the service.
True is responsible for the costs of Wi-Fi equipment, installation, maintenance and service signs.
“The standard of our service is equal to public Wi-Fi services in the United States or Singapore,” said Ingkutanon.
He added that a faster Wi-Fi speed is needed as mobile users spend around 30 minutes only on each connection.
“ service did not cost True anything as it was part of the existing Wi-Fi infrastructure. It just allocated some bandwidth to the public service,” he said.
The BMA has rolled out free public Wi-Fi service in Bangkok at 15,000 locations the past three years, offered at 64 Kbps.
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry is also offering free public Wi-Fi at 20,000 locations around Greater Bangkok. An additional 20,000 Wi-Fi hotspots are expected by October this year.
The 40,000 hotspots, under the ICT’s fiscal budget for 2012, will have an average speed of 2 Mbps serving mainly educational areas.
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