ASSOCIATIONS overseeing telecommunications and information and communications technology are striving to establish an ICT Council to work in parallel with the government in ushering Thailand into the digital-economy era.
"We are gathering together in order to have a strong voice from the industry to the government. Under the ICT Council, there would be various task forces. Ideally, we would raise critical issues from the industry perspective to push as the nation's ICT agenda," Vichai Bencharongkul, president of the Thai Federation of ICT Technology Associations (TFIT), said on Monday.
"The idea of the ICT Council is similar to the Federation of Thai Industries. It will not be confined only to ICT businesses but will also include stakeholders in the ICT and telecom industries as a whole," he said.
The task forces would oversee areas such as infrastructure, security and e-commerce. They would work with the government at the policy level.
Besides TFIT, the main ICT and telecom associations are the Thai Internet Service Provider Association (Tispa), Association of Thailand Open Source Federation (TOSF), the Association of Thai ICT Industry (ATCI), the Thai Software Export Promotion Association, the Thai e-Commerce Association and the Thailand Tech Startup Association.
The ICT and telecom associations have also discussed setting up an ICT Council, as well as a digital-economy road map to propose to the ICT minister late this month.
Morrakot Kulatumyotin, managing director for Internet Thailand and vice chairman of Tispa, said the urgent prerequisite for driving the country towards the digital economy was making the Internet and communications infrastructure ready for accessibility in terms of network availability, reliability and security.
Danupol Siamwalla, managing director and chief executive officer of Ice Solution and vice president of TOSF, said the ICT industry should play a role as an enabler in six necessary areas - policy, rules and regulations, integration, technology, standardisation and security.
Adirak Patitus, president of the ATCI, said the priority was for the public sector to digitise itself along government-to-government, government-to-business and government-to-citizen lines.
Pawoot Pongvitayapanu, president of the Thai e-Commerce Association, said that forming the ICT Council with a solid framework would help the country gear up for the digital economy.
Amarit Charoenphan, co-founder of the Thailand Tech Startup Association, said the biggest challenge for the government was the digital divide.
"It is not only how to assist businesses and industries to survive or succeed towards the digital-economy era but also about how to help Thais throughout the country to have a better standard of living," he said.