Thailand extends free broadband to 75,000 villages, aiming for 30% digital economy
Thailand is providing free broadband internet to all villages in a bid to expand its digital economy from the current 12% of GDP to 30% by 2027.
The expansion plan was unveiled by the National Digital Economy and Society Commission (NDESC) on Thursday as part of its 2018-2037 masterplan.
NDESC secretary general Putchapong Nodthaisong said two phases of the plan are now being implemented with a focus on building public digital infrastructure.
He highlighted the “Village Broadband Internet” (Net Pracharat) project to provide free broadband internet across rural Thailand. A total of 74,987 villages comprising 10.48 million people nationwide have been hooked up to free broadband so far, he said.
The third phase (2023-2027) will focus on transforming internet usage into economic activity to boost digital revenue to 30% of the country’s GDP, he added.
“To do this, we must further improve the digital inclusion rate among Thais by reducing broadband fees to 2% of gross national income per capita, or 385 baht per month on average, with a minimum rate of 220 baht per month for internet speed of 30/10 Mbps.”
The NDESC also aims to increase the online literacy rate to 75% by 2027 to combat risks from cybercrime.
Putchapong said the third phase of the digital masterplan also includes measures to promote 5G adoption by businesses, building and city-planning guidelines to support 5G, ethical standards for artificial intelligence, and the use of low-earth-orbit satellites to expand internet coverage to remote areas.
Current data shows 83.8% of Thais have internet access.