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Thailand's TOT set to begin broadband rollout in villages

Thai state-run telco TOT Public Co. Ltd. aims to provide 4,000 villages with internet access by mid-2017 during the first phase of Thailand's nationwide broadband connectivity project, The Nation reported Dec. 27, citing Digital Economy and Society Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj.

The Thai government assigned TOT to get 24,700 villages connected by the end of 2017, an effort that will cost 9 billion Thai baht, according to the report. TOT must also provide at least one free broadband connection spot in each village.

TOT will offer high-speed internet packages to the villages after it finishes the installation. However, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society will also allow other telcos to offer competing services using TOT's infrastructure.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, together with the ministry, formed a panel to determine installation areas for the broadband rollout and found 40,432 villages without connections. The NBTC will provide broadband access to the 15,732 villages not covered by TOT, the report said.

As of Dec. 27, US$1 was equivalent to 36.02 Thai baht.