Thailand sets terms for rural broadband project

telecomasia.net

Thailand's ICT ministry has finalized the terms of reference for a tender auction for a 15 billion baht ($433.1 million) national broadband project.

The project's procurement committee is preparing the auction process and expects to name the winner by September 15, the Bangkok Post reported, citing comments from ICT minister Uttama Savanayana.  

Whichever company is selected for the project will be a major supplier of fiber or copper broadband networks for the national project. State-owned operator TOT will be in charge of distributing the network to selected areas and hiring private companies to construct it.

The national project aims to extend broadband infrastructure to the 39,000 villages that still lack broadband internet access. Uttama said the ministry aims to expand the network to at least 10,000 villages by the end of the year and to all 39,000 next year.

While the ICT ministry first aimed to complete the terms of reference for the project by March, it was delayed by several months due to management issues, the report states. The project forms part of the government's digital economy and Thailand 4.0 policies.

TOT was selected to take sole responsibility for the project in April, despite initial plans to have the company jointly oversee the project with fellow state-owned operator CAT.

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