The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), Thailand is overseeing to grant THB 950 million (US$ 31 million) to support the ICT Ministry’s free Wi-Fi project.
Takorn Tantasit, NBTC’s secretary-general said that the NBTC would consider allocating the funding to the MICT to roll out up to 150,000 new free Wi-Fi spots across the country for three years.
Of the total budget, the funding will be divided into two parts. The first THB 50 million will be given to the MICT this year, and the remaining will be provided next year.
After three years, the MICT will hand over the service to state owned telcos—TOT and CAT Telecom to manage.
This move is a part of the MICT’s Smart Thailand plan to promote its existing free Wi-Fi service campaign to bridge digital divide and ensure equal telecom access across the country.
The MICT already introduced up to 30,000 spots nationwide this year, and will continue to install another 250,000 spots in the future. The original plan is to increase the access to broadband network up to 80 per cent of the population by 2013.
Apart from receiving support from public organisations, the MICT also partnered with private telecom operator—Advance Info Service (AIS), and TRUE to launch free Wi-Fi service early this week.
The existing 50,000 hot spots of AIS and its partner 3BB will be under the MICT’s free Wi-Fi service. People can register at www.ais.co.th/ictfreewifi. The number of “ICT Free Wi-Fi for Public by AIS’ hot spots will be increased to 60,000 by end of the year. Users can use free service provided by AIS and 3BB up to ten hours per month, with the download speed of 10 – 1000 Mbps.
‘ICT Free Wi-Fi by TRUE’ will also be available at 50,000 locations nationwide to start with. The MICT aims to expand the free hot spots by TRUE to over 300,000 locations across seventy provinces.
Users can select ‘ICT Free Wi-Fi by True’ network and register to obtain username and password. They can use free service up to 30 minutes per day with the download speed of 2 Mbps. Users will need to re-register every three months.