By Usanee Mongkolporn
Overall wireless broadband access in Thailand has reach around 50 per cent of the population, or around 30 million users nationwide, according to Anudith Nakornthap, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) minister.
He said three main factors were pushing the growth of wireless broadband access, namely, the ministry's free WiFi project, the growth of mobile broadband, and the government's low-cost tablet device project.
He said that broadband access had seen rapid growth – 37 per cent or 26.5 million users since October last year – up from 12 per cent or 9 million users on 2011. The ICT also plans to expand its free WiFi project access, providing over 300,000 access points in public areas nationwide by the end of next year.
Currently there are 140,000 access points under the project mainly provided by TOT, CAT Telecom, Advanced Info Service, and True Corp. Next year there will be an additional 150,000 access points installed by TOT and CAT, which received Bt950 million in financial support from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to develop the access areas.
There are currently 9 million free WiFi project users, Anudith added.