Brought to you as a public service of the Open Spectrum Foundation (Stichting Open Spectrum), Amsterdam - Prague
"Spectrum Assignment Policy: Towards an Evaluation of Spectrum Commons in Thailand," by Nattawut Ard-Paru, Licentiate thesis, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden, 2010: "The thesis argues that spectrum commons has more strengths and opportunities than weaknesses and
threats. In order to implement the spectrum commons and valuate the usefulness of this approach in practice, a framework of benefits and costs is defined."
"Community Radio still waiting for salvation," by Supara Janchitfah, Bangkok Post, 23 January 2011: "According to Section 21 of the 2008 Broadcasting and Television Business Operations Act, as well as the 2000 Frequencies Regulatory Act, [community radio stations are not allowed to accept advertising]... The law as stated allows any community to run a radio station providing they have the licence, the equipment and the backing of a local community organisation. Currently issued licences are valid until June, when a new regulatory agency, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC), will be established. The 2010 Frequency Allocation, Radio, Television, and Telecommunication Regulatory Agency Act authorised the new agency and it was announced in the Royal Gazette last December. A major hurdle in getting the NBTC operational is the selection of the committee members. Anyone who has followed the history of the ill-fated NBTC knows that its implementation has been repeatedly delayed due to conflicts of interest between the proposed candidates and also between their backers. The selection process is quite complicated and involves many different groups... However, ...the regulatory agency must be set up within 180 days from Dec 20 last year. If it cannot be set up within this time frame the Senate will select the 11 NBTC members... the new regulatory agency will need to draft the master plan for frequency allocation. This involves 'taking back', at least temporarily, 524 frequencies allocated to a number of state agencies [which operate broadcasting stations]. The Frequencies Regulatory Act says that 20% of these frequencies must be re-allocated for public use. According to the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC), the precursor agency of the NBTC, of the almost 7,000 'community radio stations', 158 are operating on a non-commercial basis at the present time, 170 to 190 have a religious format, 6,521 are classified as 'local commercial radio', and an undetermined number are dedicated to national security. Although the Frequencies Regulatory Act stipulates that community radio must be commercial-free, in 2006 the Thaksin government allowed six advertising minutes an hour, which led to the mushrooming of community radio in Thailand. However, the fact is that many stations are running much more than six minutes of advertisement an hour. The 2008 law also stipulates that community radio stations need the backing of a nonprofit community organisation in order to register. In Prachuap Khiri Khan province and elsewhere many stations operate freely without a license, while some have applied for a temporary licence without providing documentation of community backing... The 2008 Broadcasting and Television Business Operations Act says that the NBTC must provide funds for community radio stations to operate independently..."
"Picking NBTC on time viewed as uphill struggle,"Bangkok Post, 29 December 2010: "The formation of a new telecommunications industry regulator faces many hurdles, not least the possibility of an early election next year derailing the entire process, say telecom industry executives and legal experts. The 11-member National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) board is supposed to be formed by mid-June 2011, or 180 days after the effective date of the new NBTC law, which was published in the Royal Gazette on Dec 19... Questions have also been raise about the process of choosing people for the 15-member selection committee that will pick the NBTC candidates, and the qualifications of the selectors. It should be remembered that years of attempts to form the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), as called for under the now-defunct 1997 Constitution, failed completely. The NBC issue was in the Administrative Court for more than a decade because of legal disputes between the selection committee and failed contenders who cried foul about the lack of fairness and transparency of the process..."
"ICT Ministry confident of smooth NBTC launch," by Usanee Mongkolporn, The Nation, (Bangkok), 27 May 2008: "Mun Patanotai yesterday said the Council of State was examining the amended Frequency Allocation Act, which mandates the establishment of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) [to replace separate regulatory bodies for telecoms and broadcasting]. He will forward the amended law for Cabinet approval next week and believes Parliament will pass the law within three months after its reading. The NBTC will have 10 commissioners: two from the radio-broadcasting industry, two from television broadcasting, three from telecoms and three from the combined fields of economics and law... Mun said the new watchdog would work in accordance with ministry policy. One industry source is doubtful how the licensing body can remain neutral if it must follow ministry policy..."
"Protecting media freedom, or tightening govt control?" by Suranand Vejjajiva, Bangkok Post, 7 January 2011: "On Tuesday cabinet approved a draft legislative bill to ensure the protection of the rights, freedom and the setting of ethical standards for people who work in the mass media... this draft law is a result of the historically long struggle between those who work to report their stories and points of view, and those who have conflicts of interest should the truth be exposed and therefore exert all kinds of pressure for such reports to be buried. Since most of Thailand's media are under government control - as direct government agencies, state enterprises or business concessions - the livelihood of individuals could easily be compromised if not actually threatened, when one does not comply with unjust orders... the Frequency Allocation Law, only recently enacted, still has to wrestle control over ownership of the various radio and television concessions and licences from government agencies that 'own' the chunk of radio and television stations nationwide, namely, Mcot Plc - formerly the Mass Communications Organisation of Thailand - the Public Relations Department and, most importantly, the military. All of them are obliged under the law to give in to the new rules, but this is easier said than done..."
"ICT set to unveil WiFi hotspots,"Bangkok Post, 27 December 2011: "The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry says it will introduce free public WiFi at 20,000 locations around Greater Bangkok starting tomorrow. An additional 20,000 WiFi hotspots are expected by October next year, said ICT Minister Anudith Nakornthap. The 40,000 WiFi hotspots, under ICT's fiscal budget for 2012, will have an average speed of 2 Mbps... The 30-billion-baht scheme, part of the ministry's Smart Thailand project, will be implemented under a four-year period starting from 2012. The project aims to expand high-speed broadband internet, both wired and wireless, to cover 80% of districts nationwide, narrowing the digital divide and lifting the country's telecom infrastructure..."
"Operators spend on WiFi as data usage soars,"Bangkok Post (via TMCnet.com), 27 February 2011: "An explosion in mobile data usage has prompted major local mobile-phone operators to spend heavily on wireless broadband WiFi networks this year to increase capacity and improve service quality... Second-ranked Total Access Communications (DTAC) is spending more than 100 million baht on its WiFi network installation project this year. Petter Furberg, DTAC's chief commercial officer, said the networks would be installed in high-traffic areas in major cities and key airports..."
"Outdoor use [is] still technically illegal. Thailand has yet to authorise the 5GHz radio frequency spectrum used by the IEEE 802.11a Wi-Fi standard... This spectrum is now assigned here to aeronautical radio navigation, earth exploration and satellite radio location, space research and fixed earth-to-space communications... Cisco Systems can no longer sell its Wi-Fi PCMCIA cards since they all now integrate 802.11a 5GHz communications with the other 802.11b and 802.11g standards that use frequencies at 2.4 GHz. As a result they cannot be 'type-approved' for use here... Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia, apart from Indonesia, that had not authorised wireless data access for these 5GHz frequencies on a secondary basis, [Cisco Systems Thailand director of advanced technology solutions, Vatsun Thirapatarapong] pointed out. Even Cambodia had done this... Wireless communications in Thailand are governed by the Telecommunication Act of 1955 and data communications are still subject to limitations that are unrealistic, he said. Power output is limited to 100 milliwatts... Another limitation was that Wi-Fi could only legally be used inside buildings, hence across university campuses or even sitting at an open-air table in front of a Starbucks outlet, using its Wi-Fi link, was illegal..."
"Schools to get free wireless Internet," by Usanee Mongkolporn, The Nation, 13 August 2010: "Some 45,000 schools across the country will be hooked up to high-speed wireless Internet connections for free once the long-awaited 3G cellular service is up and running. That is a requirement for winners of third-generation mobile licences using the 2.1-gigahertz spectrum, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said. Successful bidders and licensees would have to provide a connection speed of 2 megabits per second to all these schools at no charge for five years..."
"Hot TOT spot: park users get connected in Phuket for free,"TeleGeography's CommsUpdate, 26 November 2010: "Thai state-owned telco TOT has partnered the city of Phuket to provide the public with free Wi-Fi broadband internet access in the tourist resort under the banner 'Phuket Free Wi-Fi'. Two public parks - Saphan Hin and Chalermprakiat - are the initial areas covered by TOT's hotspot mesh, with Wi-Fi access available without charge to those registering at a park service point..."
"Wireless Technology: RWBA crosses the divide," by Asina Pornwasin, The Nation, 18 February 2005: "Hoping to bridge the digital divide, the National Electronics Computer and Technology Centre (Nectec) has developed what it calls Rural Wireless Broadband Access (RWBA) by utilising wireless technology to allow people in remote areas to communicate with the outside world... RWBA will use a satellite-network access system and Wi-Fi technology in place of conventional copper cables to connect subscribers to their local exchange... 'It utilises voice-over-IP with computer telephony to allow people living in the so-called "last mile" to talk to others, as well as access the Internet through the same wireless network,' said Sutat..."
"Chiang Mai Uni joins the wireless revolution," by Sasiwimon Boonruang, Bangkok Post, 20 September 2006: "Chiang Mai University (CMU) is the latest campus to adopt a wireless network strategy... CMU has 137 wireless access points covering areas including the central library, faculty libraries, the Information Technology Service Centre (ITSC), and dormitories... Currently, there are around 4,000 registered users on the Wi-Fi network... The university plans to regularly expand the coverage area... 30 universities nationwide [are] conducting Wi-Fi pilot projects...."
"Win Win wins Wi-Fi licence," by Usanee Mongkolporn, The Nation (Bangkok), 24 May 2007: "Under a 10-year-investment plan, Win Win Net will roll out 30,000 Wi-Fi networks across the country, of which 2,000 will be up and running this year. It targets 1.5 million Wi-Fi subscribers within the next three years, which would enable it to break even, Sitichai said. The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) yesterday awarded a 15-year licence to Win Win Net to develop the project.."
"True widens WiFi hotspots to include Bangkok cinemas," by Srisamorn Phoosuphanusorn, Bangkok Post, 20 July 2005: "The network expansion to cinemas is in line with the telecommunication firm's plan to expand its Wi-Fi service to 500 hotspots this year from the existing 300 locations at department stores, restaurant chains, hotels and office buildings..."
"Getting ready for RFID," by Sasiwimon Boonruang, Bangkok Post, 12 April 2006. See also "Outlook for RFID Players" in the same issue: "The Thailand RFID market is small, said Ms Oswal, but CAGR growth of approximately 14% is expected for the next five years. RFID applications in Thailand include security and access control at Shinawatra and Thammasat universities as well as animal tracking in the shrimp, chicken and cattle farming sectors. The new Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok will also use RFID for baggage handling..."
"Thailand RFID Markets" - a Frost and Sullivan research service (via Research and Markets, May 2006: "The RFID market in Thailand was worth $16.3 million in 2005 and is expected to reach $32.0 million by 2010, driven mainly by growth in manufacturing and logistics..." See also "Thailand a big market for RFID technology," by Aranee Jaiimsin, Bangkok Post, 13 May 2006.
"Directions set for RFID," by Pongpen Sutharoj, The Nation, 13 February 2007: "To encourage the use of radio frequency identification system (RFID) technology in Thailand, the Software Industry Promotion Industry Agency (Sipa) has set a direction for RFID development in four key areas. They include the development of RFID in logistics systems, retail businesses, animal tracking, and for near-field communication applications..."
"Nectec sets direction for RFID development," by Pongpen Sutharoj, The Nation, 8 February 2008: "To set the direction to develop a radio frequency identification (RFID) industry in the country, the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (Nectec) has developed the first RFID industry road map to encourage the use of RFID technology and stimulate local research and development... The road map is to be a guideline for the industry's development for five years, from 2008 to 2013... In Thailand alone, it's estimated that the total RFID market in 2008 will reach Bt1.9 billion..."
"Vehicles tagged by RFID," by Asina Pornwasin, The Nation (Bangkok), 27 February 2007: "The Department of Land Transport will introduce regulations to force all vehicle owners to renew their annual vehicle tax with the new stickers having an RFID tag embedded within..."
"Setting the record straight" - journalist Don Sambandaraksa interviews ICT Minister Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom, Bangkok Post, 30 May 2007: "Mahanakorn university today is doing research into 30GHz and 60GHz, but it is still at least 10 years away... Sitthichai was more vocal on the long-running smart ID card saga. 'Yes, I did think of stopping the [RFID identity card] project, but the public seems to think that it's cool. Personally, I think the project is nonsense, but it is something that the people demand. Who am I to go against the will of the people? All I can do is get acceptable cards at the cheapest price. I'm not brave enough politically to tell everyone that we should go back to using the old type cards,' he said. The reason that the Terms of Reference had not been updated to include the latest encryption technology was that he did not want the card to be expensive and that the card was not to be used to its full potential anyway..."
"A Royal proclamation formally established the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on October 1 . It can now fully exercise its roles as Thailand's telecommunication regulator pursuant to the provisions of the Act on the Organization to Assign Radio Frequency and to Regulate the Broadcasting and Telecommunication Services B.E. 2543 (2000) and the Telecommunication Business Act B.E. 2544 (2001)..." (from "Policy and Regulatory Update - Thailand," APEC TEL 31 Working Group, April 2005.
From RegulateOnline, 25 February 2005: "Thailand's National Telecom Commission (NTC) has selected the consortium of Ericsson Thailand and Baker & McKenzie as its consultant to draw up guidelines for new telecommunications licensing rules..."
"Thailand limits frequency allocation to non-commercial firms," 11 March 2005, Telecom Asia Daily [NOTE: a careful reading of this article shows that the headline is misleading: while only noncommercial applicants can get new licenses between April and July, while the new telecom regulator is being set up, businesses may still renew their licenses]: "An interim plan for allocating telecommunication frequencies, which is scheduled to become effective next month and last until July, will grant new spectrums for non-commercial use only, The Nation reports... and among those eligible were newly created state agencies needing to set up internal communications. New spectrums granted under the scheme could be used for one year only. However, the NTC could extend for one year the expiry dates of existing frequencies being used either commercially or non-commercially..."
For a harsh but relevant view of recent spectrum politics in Thailand (oriented toward broadcasting), see "Media Reform Going Backward? edited by Sopit Wangvivatana, ISBN 974-93832-5-7, Thai Broadcast Journalists Association and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 2006 in English