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Ministry focuses on its goal to turn Thailand into an ICT hub

Nov 07. 2013
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By Jirapan Boonnoon
The Nation

It has drawn up blueprints to give each citizen their own IP address and meet global standards
The Information and Communications Ministry has formulated plans aimed at developing Thailand into a regional ICT hub and providing all Thais with their own personal Internet Protocol (IP) address.
Permanent secretary Surachai Srisaracam said the ministry was focused on three blueprints: for setting up an ICT global standard, propelling the country forward in the ICT global community, and fulfilling the Smart Thailand project. 
For the ICT global standard, the ministry will utilise and implement Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) in order to provide a personal ID and create a personal IP for all citizens. 
It will extend the current 13-character personal ID into 14 characters for IP purposes, as a result of which all citizens will have their own personal IP – the first country in the world to do so this, he said.
IPv6 is the latest version of IP, the communications protocol that provides an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes that carry traffic across the Internet. Every device on the Internet must be assigned an IP address in order to communicate with other devices.
The ministry will set up its own standard to support the international standard. It also plans to set up IP addresses for all government agencies, so that it is easier to communicate between agencies and provide services to citizens across the nation.
“The personal IP address will allow the government to provide more services to people, such as information on personal rights and alerts, via their IP addresses. This will a create win-win situation between government and all members of the public,” said Surachai.
In regard to the ICT global community, the ministry will drive forward from the smart-province level to a homogenous smart country that meets the international standard. 
Utilisation of smart-country technology will enhance the position of provinces and the Kingdom as a whole in the international market and create increased business opportunities at home and abroad. 
Moreover, he said, it would propel the country further into the ICT global community, such as in the upcoming Asean Economic Community, in areas such as National Electronic Registration Systems (NERS) and security technology.
Smart Thailand
Lastly, the ministry’s Smart Thailand goal will be driven by five components: communication, information, services, education and economics ­– collectively known as CISEE.
For communication, the ministry will collaborate with the private sector to establish an integrated single network in order to reduce the complexity of communication among the government, state enterprise and private sectors.
This will involve a fibre-optic network and tower network in order to consolidate national resources and reduce investment in both the public and private sectors. 
The government network will also provide back-office services for all government agencies, free Wi-Fi for schools, and free Wi-Fi at government offices.
“We have a goal to provide and communicate with all people via a government network covering all citizens nationwide,” said Surachai.
The ICT Ministry will, moreover, support the private sector to develop local-brand smart phones and tablets in terms of co-investment. This will promote the ICT industry and create an Asean brand, reducing imports and expanding the opportunity for local brands in the international market – and leading to the establishment of Thailand as a regional ICT hub.
In regard to information, the ministry will integrate four national information databases into a single government data centre. The databases are the Nation Global Information System (GIS), the National Management Information System (MIS), the NERS, and the Knowledge Management (KM) database. 
The government will also provide two-way communications and social networking for all citizens, in order to provide and improve government services as a whole.
As to services, the ministry will distribute government services from the centre to the community level and develop more e-services, so that they can be provided to everyone via mobile devices and kiosks.
On the education front, the agency will develop tools such as e-learning or cyber-education centres to support students and others, in order to meet demand for a modern-day workforce, said the official.
Lastly, in regard to economics, the ministry will utilise information technology to support business, such as e-commerce to support Otop (One Tambon One Product) operators, logistics and department stores for the community, so that inclusive growth can be achieved.
“We have a goal to utilise IT to increase productivity and provide service satisfaction to all people, as well as reduce operating and management costs for business,” said Surachai.

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