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Phuket Live Wire: AIS rolls out 3G coverage

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Phuket Live Wire: AIS rolls out 3G coverage | Thaiger

PHUKET: Finally, it’s here! 3G has arrived on Phuket and will be available later this month.

AIS marketing and sales manager, Paiboon Rinsakul, gave a ground-breaking presentation at the Computer Clinic meeting last Sunday. Mr Paiboon demonstrated AIS’s new HSPA 3G service, with full internet access over AIS’s about-to-be-released wireless network.

In front of 50 observers at the meeting, Mr Paiboon ran the group’s standard international speed test to Los Angeles (phuketinternetspeed.com). AIS’s 3G clocked at 1.8 Mbps download speed from LA – by far the fastest wireless internet connection the group has ever seen.

By comparison, most wired connections in Phuket are running at 0.6 to 1.3 Mbps. Yes, that means the wireless AIS 3G service, right now, is faster than most wired ADSL connections. It’s also faster than most 3G connections in the US and Europe.

Of course, measuring the download speed on a beta test connection is a bit like measuring commute times on an empty freeway, but the number is still quite impressive.

Mr Paiboon revealed that AIS postpaid-GSM and prepaid 1-2-Call will roll out HSPA 3G to towers covering about 95 per cent of the internet usage areas on the island by the end of the month.

Full details – including pricing – aren’t yet finalized, but AIS will probably offer several levels of service.

AIS is also extending coverage throughout the island. The True signal is only available from nine towers on the west coast of Phuket and in Samkong, although – as I explained in Live Wire last week – True pledges to get more towers up and working in short order.

The new 3G AIS service will run at 900 MHz. Your phone, tablet, or PC dongle has to be able to work at 900 MHz, in order to hook into the AIS network. So, for example, AIS 3G will work on an iPad 2, but not on an iPad 1. It will work on an iPhone 3 or 4, and on most (but not all) Android 3G phones sold in Thailand.

The only way to know for sure if your phone, pad or PC dongle will work with AIS is to check the specifications: it has to support HSPA at 900 MHz. Specification checking can be done at gsmarena.com.

The AIS roll-out has several smart aspects. Foremost among them: the AIS (GSM or 1-2-Call) SIM card you have right now will work on the new 3G network. If your phone, pad or dongle can handle 900 MHz 3G, all you need to do is drop by an AIS counter sometime after July 28 and sign up.

Dozens of people have written to me over the past 24 hours, saying that their phones or pads are suddenly picking up a 3G signal. If you’re experiencing the same, it’s a good sign that you’ll be able to get AIS 3G using your current SIM card and phone number when the service goes live on July 28.

Until then, you may think you’re running at 3G speeds, but you aren’t: AIS is automatically dropping you back to EDGE/GPRS, until you sign up and pay for the new feature.

In theory, all of the AIS shops, including Telewiz shops (AIS’s authorized dealer) and select mobile phone shops on the island, will be able to set you up with 3G starting on July 28. There may be a bit of confusion at first, so don’t get too excited. AIS will have a booth, staffed with engineers who know what they’re talking about (really!), at the IBAP Business Fair, July 30 and 31, in the Homeworks mall opposite are Central Festival. You’re cordially invited to drop by and learn the details, particularly on the afternoon of the 31, when AIS will have its official opening (time to be announced).

If you get AIS 3G working, please go to the Internet Speed Reporting site mentioned above and report your speeds. AIS will be monitoring the site to see if there are any problems. You can also drop your suggestions, complaints and – it must be said – compliments when you post your speed.

The game is afoot.

Live Wire is Phuket Gazette columnist Woody Leonhard’s weekly snapshot of all things internet in Phuket. Follow him on Twitter: @PhuketPC or visit his free computer clinics at Woody’s Sandwich Shoppes.

To see what Woody’s up to in the international press, and to keep on top of the latest patches and problems with Windows and Office, drop by AskWoody.com.

The Nation is the Phuket Gazette’s partner newspaper, and printer and distribution agent for the Gazette’s Nationwide edition.

— Woody Leonhard

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Chiang Mai

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half

Tim Newton

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Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | Thaiger

The TAT, ever the optimists regarding anything tourism related, even domestic tourism, predict that the Bangkok clusters that have emerged in the week before the Songkran break could reduce traffic and spending by up to half.

Today the CCSA is reporting 789 new infections and one additional death. 522 were local infections, mostly walk-ins to Bangkok hospitals, 259 were discovered through track and tracing. The remaining 8 were found in quarantine from overseas arrivals. In Phuket, another 17 cases have been reported today, taking the island’s week total to 43.

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | News by ThaigerGRAPH: Worldometer figures for Thailand, up to April 9

A 68 year old man from Nakhon Pathom province died on April 4 but wasn’t reported until today. The CCSA report that he died from Covid and “complications”. 33 other former patients have recovered and been discharged.

Last week the TAT estimated 3.2 million domestic trips would circulate 12 billion baht for the Thai economy. But the Tourism Authority has now slashed their estimates by half after hotels, airlines and bus companies reported mass cancellations in the last few days. Other provinces are reporting less than 20% cancellations. Although this weekend will see a lot of travel, Songkran doesn’t formally start until next Tuesday and the TAT expect there could be additional fallout as travellers decide to have a staycation for Songkran instead heading home.

Bangkok Post reports that 70% of travellers to Prachuap Khiri Khan and Hua Hin have already cancelled hotel bookings. Similar cancellations have been reported in Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Many other provinces, particularly in the north east and north, are also enforcing quarantine on arrivals or additional paperwork to try and protect their provinces from any of the Bangkok clusters.

8 north eastern provinces rare now requiring 10 or 14 day quarantine periods for anyone arriving from areas where new clusters have been reported. Chiang Mai provincial officials say that tourists from Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi – basically Bangkok and surrounding provinces – must complete a 14 day mandatory quarantine or conduct a test for Covid when they arrive.

The reality is that the travel and quarantine changes are outstripping the ability to communicate them all. Anyone crossing into other provinces in the next few day, especially if you’re travelling from Bangkok and surrounding provincial ‘red zones’ can expect some additional paperwork or a Covid test. Or even quarantine.

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Education

Phuket student protests and is flunked as “not loyal to the nation”

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Phuket student protests and is flunked as “not loyal to the nation” | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Student protests led to one student not graduating due to being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”

After participating in protests for student’s rights, a Phuket student was barred from graduating 9th grade, moving from middle school to high school, charged with being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”. The student had advocated against mandatory uniforms and for student’s liberties. He told reporters that the school started paying attention to his actions last year when he participated in rallies in solidarity with students across Thailand. The school’s student affairs office received a copy of posts he made on social media encouraging others to join the cause. The school ordered a stop to his political actions, but he and his friends disregarded warnings and violated school rules when they handed out white ribbons to classmates. They received a warning from the student affairs office.

Student protests have increased after pro-democracy demonstrations surged in July last year, empowering many Thai people to speak out against injustices, including students’ rights and liberties. People from schools across the nation have been banding together in solidarity to bring their issues to public light.

On graduation day, all the students were promoted into high school, except for the one student protestor, says the Bad Student protest group. The theme of the day focused on dedication to the monarchy, country and religion, and specifically how students should be obedient. The student said he has received support from friends, but his parents remain neutral and his teachers have been completely silent on the matter. He is frustrated that he was punished for his right to express himself. He plans on testing with incoming students to re-enrol in the same school, and if he is not accepted because of the disloyalty charge, he will pursue legal ramifications, suing the school for blocking his right to an education over the student’s protests.

The student believes he needs to speak out to prevent school administrators from imposing on more students’ rights. He advocates for diversity in schools and ending prejudices, with increased liberties and freedoms for students.

“Schools must teach children to be able to think by themselves, not force children to think like them. Schools should create opportunities for students to express their ideas more freely.”

SOURCE: Prachatai

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

16 more Covid infections reported today in Phuket

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16 more Covid infections reported today in Phuket | Thaiger
iTrip.com

Phuket is reporting 16 more infections today. It follows visits from Bangkok and last weekend’s Kolour Beachside parties that have resulted in a number of new Covid infections. The number of new infections has reached 26. But deputy governor Vikrom Jakthee says the province has been successful in containing the new outbreak “due to its quick response measures which now include shuttering bars and nightlife venues.

One of the confirmed cases is a male teacher from Headstart International School in Kathu who, after attending the parties on the weekend, was back teaching students on Monday and Tuesday. The school has sent a letter to all parents advising them of the situation and organising testing for anyone who may have come in contact with the teacher.

The closure order in Phuket comes just as the island province was expecting to get an influx of visitors for Songkran, the Thai New Year. Many bar and club owners were expecting some increased traffic during the holiday week. Phuket officials say they will explain to bar and club owners why they decided to close the venues during the critical week for business.

Vikrom previously cited the start of the island’s Covid vaccine roll-out of Covid starting to head towards a herd immunity in time for the province’s proposed July reopening to international tourists. But he admitted that the sudden appearance of the coronavirus on the island again will force officials to reevaluate the schedule for reopening. He also said that almost all cases were in younger age groups of people in their 20s and 30s.

“Today, the number of infected people reported in Phuket has reached 26, many are from entertainment venues. This figure is relatively high. It jumped from 10 to 26 cases. We will invite operators of entertainment places in for discussions.”

Partygoers who went to any of the Kolour Beachside parties in Phuket last weekend are being asked to visit a local hospital for a Covid test. The parties hosted more than 3,000 people, drawing concern after a musician tested positive for Covid-19, having attended all 3 parties. The Phuket Provincial Government and Phuket Provincial Public Health Office released a statement yesterday advising all partygoers to get tested.

“Those who attended the Kolour parties from April 2 to 3 at Shelter Phuket Dance & Night Club in Patong, Cafe Del Mar Phuket in Kamala and Illuzion nightclub on Bangla Road in Patong are asked to get tested.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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