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Three factors key to success of 'digital economy', forum told

Feb 06. 2015
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By ASINA PORNWASIN
THE NATION

INFRASTRUCTURE, legislation, and promotion will be the key factors to make the government's "digital economy" policy a success, one of its backers said yesterday.

Sittichai Pookaiyaudom, a member of the Digital Economy Working Group and an adviser to Deputy Prime Minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula, made these points at a Capital Market Research Forum on “Driving Thailand’s Economy under the Digital Economy Concept” hosted by the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Infrastructure, both fixed-line and wireless, is now on the way to being available throughout the country. A fibre-optics network is expected to reach every home within three years.

Meanwhile, for improved wireless access, a spectrum auction will be held to facilitate establishment of a fourth-generation broadband network.

Sittichai said the country needed a lot more international Internet gateways as well as access to submarine-cable networks.

These would make Thailand’s Internet network stable, accessible and affordable, and help make this country an Asean Internet hub.

Legislation is another important factor in making the “digital economy” dream come true, and the military regime is in the process of pushing this through.

Even though there have been many concerns voiced that these new laws could amount to an abuse of power and further curtailment of citizens’ rights, Sittichai played these down.

“The prime minister and deputy prime minister have ordered the drafters [of the legislation] to deal with all the points of concern. They have insisted these will not be dictatorial bills. Accessing any personal information of citizens will require a court order,” he said.

As for the promotional factor, the private sector, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, needs to be convinced that it will benefit from going digital. Once the infrastructure is fully in place, a lot of e-commerce can take off.

Varakorn Samakoses, chairman of the executive board of the Electronic Government Agency, said government policy would need continuity to make the digital economy sustainable.

He pointed to the “Malaysia 2020” policy as an example of such continuity in a neighbouring country.

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