Wired for a better rural future (The Nation)

Rollout of fibre optics in remote villages aims to boost education, healthcare and local economies under the ambitious Net Pracharat programme

Reducing inequality, creating opportunities for people in rural areas and building the competitiveness of the country. These are the cited reasons behind the government’s programme to bring digital infrastructure to all people throughout the country and to increase their knowledge and access to services as they use the Net Pracharat network.

Ajarin Pattanapanchai, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, said they have educated people throughout the country on how to utilise the infrastructure network of Net Pracharat.

This is being done because the programme will have long-term benefits that include both economic and social impacts for the country.
With Net Pracharat, all Thais will have equitable and affordable access to several sources of information and services, including for education, healthcare, e-commerce and government services, said Ajarin.

This would lead the country toward the path of long-term stability, prosperity and sustainability, Ajarin said.

Hard infrastructure

The Village Broadband Internet (Net Pracharat) project’s infrastructure was completed in December 2017, when MDES and Telephone of Thailand Public Company Limited (TOT) laid down the last of a fibre cable network targeting 24,700 rural villages throughout the Kingdom. 

One of Thailand’s national flagship projects, Net Pracharat aims to ensure reliable digital infrastructure and equitable access to information and communication technology throughout the country.

Meanwhile, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is responsible for 3,920 villages in border areas, and the remaining 15,732 target villages in rural areas. 

In 2019, the ministry continues to emphasise the use of Net Pracharat, with volunteers in 24,700 villages, as the young generation and community leaders work to coordinate the project. They report to the ministry about the daily functioning of the high-speed internet Net Pracharat network, other infrastructure-related suggestions, as well as the other needs of local people. 

In collaboration with the Ministry of Interior (MOI), training sessions have already reached one million local people.

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The Nation

20 April 2019

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