Broadband drive picking up steam
A sign in Samut Sakhon advertises an internet broadband package in Burmese to attract residents from Myanmar.PORNPROM SATRABHAYA
The cabinet has acknowledged a plan for TOT Plc and CAT Telecom Plc to form a joint venture to run the national internet broadband services. The Digital Economy and Society Ministry yesterday reported to the cabinet that the two state firms will set up a joint venture to install an internet broadband network to cover 24,700 villages at an investment cost of 15 billion baht. The installation is due to be finished next year.
The government aims to cover a combined 40,432 villages, 15,732 of which will be handled by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission. The regulator will use the universal service obligation fund for the project, but investment costs have not yet been made available. The development is part of government efforts to provide affordable high-speed internet access to low-income rural households, in compliance with the nation’s digital infrastructure development roadmap. The Digital Economy and Society Ministry yesterday also reported on the progress of internet broadband installations. As of April, the network has been installed in 99 villages.
The ministry plans to install the service at 3,000 villages this month, 2,800 villages in June, 8,200 in September and 10,601 in December. Nathporn Chatusripitak, an adviser to the PM’s Office Minister Suvit Maesincee, said the NBTC is likely to finish its internet broadband installations in remote areas by the middle or late next year. In a separate development, Government Spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said yesterday that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) also agreed to invoke Section 44 of the interim charter to allow foreign universities and vocational institutes to establish a presence in the much-touted Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and special economic zones.
The initiatives are intended to speed up the development of the EEC and special economic zones as well as tackle a shortage in skilled labour. The government will later draw up a list of foreign universities and vocational institutes to ensure that they provide the utmost benefit to the country’s development. Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said these initiatives would also attract more private investment.
The EEC is intended to be a special zone accommodating investment in 10 targeted industries promoted as clusters by the government. The 10 industries are next-generation cars; smart electronics; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food; robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; and medical services. The corridor spans a combined 30,000 rai in three provinces: Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao.
The EEC is an enhancement of the Eastern Seaboard that has been the region’s powerhouse for manufacturing and trade. Get full Bangkok Post printed newspaper experience on your digital devices with Bangkok Post e-newspaper1. Try it out, it’s totally free for 7 days.