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Thailand wires up with free Wi-Fi

Twenty thousand public Wi-Fi hotspots will be turned on Wednesday, with another 20,000 expected to go live by next October, as Thai government aims to provide Internet access to 80 percent of country by 2016, says report.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

The Thai government announced it will be offering free public Wi-Fi in the Greater Bangkok area starting on Wednesday, and the rollout is part of its 30 billion baht (US$957 million) ICT masterplan called Smart Thailand.

Local news agency Bangkok Post reported on Tuesday that Thailand's Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) plans to switch on public Wi-Fi hotspots at 20,000 locations in Greater Bangkok tomorrow. MICT minister Anudith Nakornthap added that another 20,000 hotspots will be available from October next year, and these wireless Internet zones will experience speeds of 2Mbps.

The minister pointed out that the Wi-Fi coverage has been planned for city halls in 77 provinces, 878 district offices, 2,010 municipalities, 7,355 tambons (sub-districts), 5,765 tambon administration organizations, 12,355 schools, 1,278 hospitals and 8,269 police stations.

The Wi-Fi deployment is part of the nation's Smart Thailand masterplan, which will start in 2012 and span across four years, the Bangkok Post noted. With this initiative, the Thai government plans to increase Internet coverage--both wired and wireless--to cover 80 percent of the country.

The masterplan also factors in the development of state-owned telecommunications company TOT's 3G wireless broadband network expansion and long-term evolution (LTE), the report added.

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