Thailand announces $125m rural broadband subsidy

07 Jan 2019

Thailand's telecoms regulator NBTC plans to provide 4 billion baht ($125.2 million) worth of subsidies for fixed broadband services in border villages as part of its efforts to bridge the urban-rural digital divide.

The three-year subsidy will be provided in support of Thailand's Universal Service Obligation (USO) Net project, the Bangkok Post reported.

The USO Net project, involving the deployment of a fiber network, free Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile access nodes across 3,920 villages in 62 provinces across the nation, is due to be completed in March.

Project winners will be required to provide broadband packages offering speeds of 30Mbps for 200 baht per month. The subsidies will be used to ensure the services are affordable to the 600,000 low-income households in border villages that cannot afford these prices.

The NBTC is also involved in a concurrent project to extend broadband services to a further 15,732 villages as part of the government's national broadband network project, which is due to cover a total of 40,432 villages across the country.

According to the report, the NBTC expects this month to sign an agreement with the winner of the project for construction of the second phase of the Net Pracharat project.

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