By USANEE MONGKOLPORN
THE INFORMATION and Communications Technology Ministry will meet with five private and state telecom operators to discuss the possibility of setting up a national telecom infrastructure fund.
The five operators are TOT, CAT Telecom, Advanced Info Service, Total Access Communication, and True Corp.
The fund would be the vehicle to promote the rollout of telecom networks nationwide with the aim of ensuring equal telecom-service accessibility at affordable prices.
“The fund, if successfully set up, will help in stimulating economic growth and benefit the stock exchange,” said ICT Ministry Minister Uttama Savanayana.
Foreign firms ‘enthusiastic’
“People will also be able to access low prices and quality services, while telecom operators can jointly use basic telecom infrastructure, telecom towers and base stations.”
He added that some foreign companies were enthusiastic about joining the fund investment.
An asset that would be sold to the fund is the planned Bt15-billion broadband Internet network to be rolled out by TOT and CAT that will cover 70,000 villages nationwide.
Initially the rollout will focus on 30,000 villages that are beyond the reach of broadband Internet networks.
The ministry will spend an additional Bt5 billion next year on creating international Internet gateways.
Uttama said the ICT Ministry also planned to launch a free public Wi-Fi spot in all villages nationwide.
It is considering asking for financial support from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission’s Broadcasting and Telecommunications Research and Development Fund to finance the project.