The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry says it will introduce free public WiFi at 20,000 locations around Greater Bangkok starting tomorrow.
An additional 20,000 WiFi hotspots are expected by October next year, said ICT Minister Anudith Nakornthap.
The 40,000 WiFi hotspots, under ICT's fiscal budget for 2012, will have an average speed of 2 Mbps.
Coverage is planned for city halls in 77 provinces, 878 district offices, 2,010 municipalities, 7,355 tambons, 5,765 tambon administration organisations, 12,355 schools, 1,278 hospitals and 8,269 police stations, he said.
The 30-billion-baht scheme, part of the ministry's Smart Thailand project, will be implemented under a four-year period starting from 2012.
The project aims to expand high-speed broadband internet, both wired and wireless, to cover 80% of districts nationwide, narrowing the digital divide and lifting the country's telecom infrastructure.
Included in the plan is TOT's 3G wireless broadband network expansion and long-term evolution (4G) network development.
Gp Capt Anudith acknowledged he was the minister the public knew the least about, according to a Suan Dusit poll, but added it wouldn't affect his intention to continue working hard.
He is worried about the weakening of the country's ICT competency, dropping to 50 this year from 49 last year, a recent report showed.
The government is preparing to introduce its Government Information Network next Thursday in a bid to allow state authorities to provide one-stop services. Under the project, the ICT Ministry is the network installer for state agencies who were unable to invest in network by themselves.
Gp Capt Anudith said the ministry plans to set up a joint committee to oversee network investment projects for TOT and CAT Telecom to reduce duplicate investment.
TOT is set to become a network service provider offering WiFi, 3G wireless broadband and fixed-based broadband.
CAT Telecom will become an integrated ICT service operator providing electronic transactions and network security.
Reference : Bangkok Post
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