TOT wants telcos to be made to rent its pipes

05 Sep 2017

Thai state-owned operator TOT is calling on the government to use its legislative powers to force telecoms and broadcasting companies to move their overhead cables in Bangkok into TOT's underground pipes.

The operator has argued that the move will accelerate the government's target of removing all overhead power and telephone cables in three provinces to 2019, compared to the 2021 currently scheduled, the Bangkok Post reported.

The move to remove overhead cables in Bangkok, Samut Prakan and Nonthaburi is being managed by five state agencies – the Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA), TOT, National Broadcast and Telecommunication Commission, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the Royal Thai Police.

Under the plan, MEA will be responsible for replacing all overhead power lines with underground lines, while TOT will be responsible for providing an underground duct system and grouping all existing telecoms and broadcast cables into these ducts.

But TOT has argued that it lacks the authority to compel operators to relocate their cables, and that only the government can make an order.

TOT wants the operator to be legally forced to rent the company's pipes in the Bangkok. The company currently charges telecoms companies a monthly fee of 18,000 baht ($543) per km to access this underground infrastructure.

TOT currently owns around 2,000km of the 5,000km worth of underground pipes in the Bangkok metropolitan area, and is set to inherit a further 1,500km next month after True Corporation's existing fixed line phone build-operate-transfer concession with the state-owned company expires.

The report states that TOT is ready to expand its pipe capacity to cover all 5,000km if it is assigned the installation of underground cables as part of the project.

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