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Junta Approves 20 Billion Baht for Internet Broadband, Gateway

The Junta approved 20 billion baht on Tuesday to improve internet broadband in the kingdom, drawing criticism from internet freedom advocates it will be used to develop its controversial “single gateway” project.

single gatewayGovernment spokesman Maj. Gen. Sansern Kaewkamnerd yesterday said that 15 billion baht will be spent to expand the domestic high-speed internet network in rural areas, where the private sector is not interested in investing. That fits the “community internet” initiative recently touted by the Ministry of information and Communication Technology as a means to promote economic capacity and reduce unequal access to the internet.

The other 5 billion baht would be used to develop the single gateway, which the government has promoted as an economic measure to position Thailand as the “digital hub” of the ASEAN community.

The first phase of expanding the internet broadband across the country was expected to start in March, while Sansern said Thailand hoped its gateway project would make Thailand a link between Asia and the West begin in 2017.

Both state-owned TOT and CAT Telecom public companies will be responsible for the project.

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