Two big projects driving Thailand’s bid to be a digital hub

Thailand is taking bold steps to become a hub for digital industries with the government getting behind two major projects – an undersea cable and a low earth orbit satellite business – to turn its national ambition into reality.

Buddhipongse Punnakanta, Minister of Digital Economy and Society, told a forum last week that expanding the submarine cable capacity would make it easier for people to connect to digital infrastructure and reduce the price. The government is also amending the Space Affairs Act to facilitate the founding of a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite business.

LEO satellites operate between 300 miles and 1,200 miles above the Earth’s surface compared to traditional types of communications satellites that orbit at an average of about 22,000 miles above planet’s surface.

“The advantage of the lower orbit is lower latency. It will benefit everyone with access to high-speed internet services via 5G technology, IoT [Internet of Things] devices, M2M [Machine to Machine] technology.”

An LEO satellite would make the use of drones more accurate and aid in advanced technologies such as remote surgery, he said.

Digital business is one of the 12-targeted sectors that the government supports with generous incentives and privileges as part of Thailand 4.0, the 20-year national strategy to lift Thailand to a more advanced stage of development.

The Minister said that expanding the capacity of submarine cables and building new ones through a consortium agreement signed recently would help advance the goal of becoming the region’s digital hub.

He expects the consortium will complete a new submarine cable in two years.

Buddhispongse said the government is also planning to develop a Thai personal health database through cloud-based data analytics. That would make it easier for people to access healthcare services and related personal health data by simply using a smart ID card.

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