In an effort to bridge the digital divide, the Thai Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) has introduced 20,000 free wifi hotspots in Bangkok. The project is an collaboration with Thai telecom companies and is the government’s new-year gift to its people.
MICT Minister Anudith Nakornthap announced that 20,000 more spots will be operational in October this year, with the aim of having 250,000 spots in Bangkok as the target for 2015.
Ultimately, according to Nakornthap, city halls in 77 provinces, 878 district offices, 2,010 municipalities, 7,355 tambons, 5,765 tambon administration organizations, 12,355 schools, 1,278 hospitals and 8,269 police stations, will be covered under the plan.
The government has committed to 30 billion Baht (US$ 0.94 billion) to the Smart Thailand scheme, to be fully realized by 2015. The wifi project is one of the many initiatives within this framework. The MICT plans to have 85% of Thailand covered by high-speed broadband internet network by the target year.
Users have to register at the MICT website
using their full name and identification number before they can use the wifi services. Speeds upto 2Mbps are attainable and users may use the services for upto two hours per session.
Wifi connectivity has been common in Bangkok for several years now; however, connection prices are high for customers and can be up to 150 Baht (US$ 4.7) per hour, compared to unlimited home broadband costs of 500 Baht (US$ 15.7) per month.