TOT gets ultimatum to fix poor performance of village internet service
State telecom firm TOT Plc has been given a three-month deadline to come up with solutions for the poor performance of the Village Broadband Internet Project or Net Pracharat in 24,700 villages.
Digital Economy and Society (DES) Minister Buddhipongse Punakanta said on Thursday (January 30) that he had given TOT, which undertook this project, "to take responsibility for these issues without racking up additional service fee as they proposed”.
“If they fail to deliver, the DES Ministry will hand this project over to the private sector,” he warned.
The Village Broadband Internet Project aims to provide free Wi-Fi hotspots to villages in rural areas nationwide at one spot per village.
The DES Ministry had earlier proposed that TOT should increase the Wi-Fi speed from 30/10 Mbps to 200/100 Mbps per spot to solve the poor performance problem, but TOT had responded that they required an additional fee.
Buddhipongse further added that the issue with TOT might affect the DES Ministry’s decision to hire TOT for a future project that involves installing 10,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in areas with heavy usage.
“TOT has proved to be ineffective in carrying out projects with the DES Ministry and previously with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission,” he added.
Net Pracharat is one of the government’s schemes to provide free internet services to people in rural areas and decrease digital disparity in Thai society. It has received a Bt13-billion budget and TOT was awarded the contract as the lowest bidder quoting only Bt10 billion.