Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Internet service for all Thai villages by end of this year

Internet service for all Thai villages by end of this year

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Asean Business Advisory Council chairman Arin Jira. THE NATION (THAILAND)

Internet service for all Thai villages by end of this year

DEVELOPING digital infrastructure is the most crucial step in advancing “Industry 4.0” in the Asean region, say representatives from both the public and private sectors.

Thailand will become a full-fledged broadband nation by the end of this year by providing internet access to an additional 50,000 villages this year, Minister of Digital Economy and Society Pichet Durongkaveroj told reporters.

Pichet, joined by representatives from the private sector, was speaking at the Asean Digital Infrastructure seminar organised by the Asean Business Advisory Council-Thailand (Asean BAC-Thailand) in cooperation with the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB).

The Asean BAC is a private sector organisation which aims to give guidance and advice to the government sector to boost Asean cooperation.

“One of the biggest hurdles in adapting to digital disruptions in the Asean region is the development of digital infrastructure,” said Asean BAC chairman Arin Jira.

“For example, there is limited broadband access in the rural areas, especially in the countries with a vast population such as Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, where internet connectivity remains relatively poor,” he said.

Arin stressed the importance of having an adequate digital infrastructure so that business opportunities via e-commerce, international trade and e-payments can be capitalised on throughout the region.

JSCCIB chairman Kalin Sarasin concurs.

“The governments of Asean countries should invest in core digital infrastructure. This will connect people throughout the region and lead to new business opportunities,” he said.

The digital economy ministers of Asean have agreed to cooperate on improving the digital infrastructure in the region, said Pichet.

He addressed Arin’s concern over the lack of internet connectivity in Thailand, laying out the Thai government’s plans to address the challenge.

“In 2017 we identified up to 75,000 villages in the country without internet access. Through the Village Broadband Internet (Net Pracharat) Project, we have since then completed the installation of fibre cable networks for up to 25,000 villages,” he said.

“Our aim is to become a full-fledged broadband nation by the end of this year by completing the internet installation for the 50,000 remaining villages,” he said.

Another important agenda is to increase the level of information sharing between Asean government agencies in order to enhance cooperation and to improve the ability to address problems at a regional level. This will, in turn, increase the ease of doing business for companies throughout the region, Prachet added.

However, he also noted that progress on this front has to begin on the domestic side, with each Asean member digitising the way their government agencies operate.

“With Thailand, we have been pushing our agencies to use one-stop services, Big Data analytics as well as the development of digital IDs,” he said.

Digital Government Development Agency (DGA) president Sak Segkhoonthod recently announced that government agencies nationwide are transforming themselves for digital governance.

For example, the government expects to provide digital one-stop services from 300 government agencies within the next five years.

The final crucial issue discussed was the need to upskill and reskill the workforce within the Asean region to prepare for Industry 4.0.

“It is absolutely crucial that we increase the skills and capabilities of the workforce to cope with digital disruptions in the region,” said Arin during a sideline interview.

Management consulting firm McKinsey & Company has also expressed concerns over the need to reskill.

“Reskilling will be needed for the existing workers. We have identified up to seven million employees in Thailand who will need to be reskilled in order for companies to digitally transform,” said McKinsey & Companysenior partner Karel Eloot during an interview with the Nation.

Pichet said Asean ministers are in agreement on this issue. Domestic policies to train the workforce are already in place, while a regional guideline on training the digital skills of the workforce is underway, he said.

As for Thailand, the DGA is developing a digital-skills training course for all government officers. The agency expects to upgrade three million government officers with digital skills in their workforce areas within the next five years. THE NATION (THAILAND)

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma