By JIRAPAN BOONNOON
Atcharin Phatthanaphanchai, permanent secretary of the ministry, said the government had assigned the project to CAT Telecom.
The state telecom agency has split the Asean Digital Hub project into three phases: increase network capacity on the borders, upgrade capacity of the nationwide network and the submarine cable system, and the laying of a new international submarine cable.
In the first phase, CAT expanded internet capacity by 2,300 giga bits per second (Gbps) in border areas connecting Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar with a Bt2-billion expenditure.
The CAT has invested Bt1 billion in the second phase of the project and is currently performing tests on the equipment installed at 151 communication stations nationwide. The agency has also increased the capacity of the existing submarine cable network by 770Gbps, linking Thailand with Singapore, China through Hong Kong, and the United States. The upgraded infrastructure can now handle 7,512Gbps of internet traffic for the entire country, a level sufficient for the foreseeable future.
The capacity expansion of the domestic network is expected to stimulate Thailand’s economy, create more jobs and opportunities, decrease inequality in education, boost public health services, decrease internet costs and offer the public wider access to information and state services.
The third phase will see the laying of a new submarine internet cable connecting Thailand to the Asia-Pacific nations, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, and South Korea.
The new submarine cable aims to boost the effectiveness of the Internet, enabling Thailand to become the Asean Digital Hub while increasing the capacity and quality of the country’s telecommunication infrastructure in preparation for the digital era,” said Atcharin.
Sanpachai Huvanandana, president of CAT Telecom, said the firm would sign investment and construction agreements with partners in July and August, adding that the new submarine cable will be in place within 2022.
He said the new submarine cable and upgraded infrastructure will significantly improve the stability of Asean connectivity and will play an important role in elevating Thailand to the status of Asean Digital Hub. It will enhance the country’s connectivity with China through Hong Kong as well as meeting the demands for economic expansion to the Asean subregion.
“Thailand is located in a strategic location, making it suitable to become a communication hub for the upper Asean region, comprising Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar with high internet traffic. Furthermore, Thailand is one of the top digital content consumers in the world. The volume of internet traffic and digital content consumption in the Kingdom is sufficient to attract major content providers to establish their data centres in Thailand, making use of the country’s communication infrastructure, such as the network of underwater cables, which have just been upgraded,” the president said.