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Phuket Live Wire: Getting connected

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PHUKET: WHEN it comes to Internet connections in Phuket, there are three major considerations: reliability, speed and price. In that order.

It’s almost impossible to measure reliability. Why? Because glitches in Internet connections these days tend to be one-off. It’s rare to see the whole island go down. Most reliability problems I’ve seen have to do with poorly strung wires, or technicians who don’t know what they’re doing, or weather conditions, or animals that love to eat plastic insulation. Sadly, there’s just no way to predict when a tokay is going to take out your home’s ADSL wire.

Price is easy to compare, although the major ISPs change their packages and prices all the time.

The tough comparison is speed. I’m not talking about the “Up to 100 Mbps” promises of marketing campaigns. I’m talking about day-in and day-out real, measured speeds.

Last week in Live Wire, I went over the speed test that we use at PhuketInternetSpeed.com.

Now that you understand the measurement method and its limitations, I would like to help you figure out which kind of Internet service is best for you and in subsequent columns I’ll step you through the specific Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and try to give some suggestions for getting the most for your money.

In general, there are three different kinds of Internet services offered in Phuket.

Wired


Wiredinternet involves one of the ISPs stringing a line to your house. You can get ADSL service over a phone line from TOT, CAT, 3BB, or True. You can also get Fiber Optic service in many parts of the island from TOT: they have to lay a fiber optic cable to your doorstep. Several of the Cable TV companies on the island offer Internet service along with the cable.

Rounding out the wired category, there’s an odd hybrid technology called DOCSIS, offered by True, that’s a little bit like Cable TV and Internet, all wrapped up into one coax line. And there’s a TOT service called WiNet or AirMax that’s wireless up to the outside of your house, then wired inside.

Wireless


Wireless internet, as its name implies, gives you direct access to the internet much as a mobile phone lets you talk on the phone without any wires. All of the major mobile phone companies – DTAC, 1-2-Call and True – offer old-fashioned wireless internet access known as GPRS or EDGE. It’s reliable but painfully slow. CAT offers a reliable but not terribly fast service known as CDMA EV-DO (catchy name, that). CAT insists upon calling their EV-DO network “3G” but it won’t work with your 3G phone or iPad.

The new kids on the wireless block, both offering HSPA (which is real “3G” by most peoples’ reckoning) are True and AIS. You can buy a USB “dongle” and run 3G on your PC, laptop or Mac. AIS offers HSPA “3G” service all over the island, but it doesn’t work with the iPhone 3GS or iPad 1. Details in my August 9 Live Wire.

True works with all 3G phones and pads, but it has very limited coverage, as the signal’s only available on the extreme west coast of the island, with one additional tower on top of Bangkok Hospital Phuket. That’s changing rapidly: True’s 3G is about to become TrueMobile-H “3.5G” (oy!). I’ll have details when it’s fully operational.

Satellite


Finally, satellite service is available in Phuket, but it’s notoriously slow and unreliable.

So your first decision in picking Internet service in Phuket is to figure out whether you want a wired or wireless connection. In general, wired connections are faster and less expensive, and wireless connections are more reliable. But individual products vary, as you’ll see next week.

If you’re going to be moving around – taking your computer to different parts of the island – you really need a wireless connection. If you’re usually stationary a wired connection may suit you just fine. It’s easier and cheaper to set up a WiFi base station and a home network with a wired connection. But a wireless connection gives you much more mobility.

Next week I’ll look at the different wired connections and show you how to pick the best one for your situation.

By the way, if you are not yet reporting your speeds on PhuketInternetSpeed.com then please drop by and sign up! It’s free, only takes a few seconds and the results help everybody figure out what’s working and what’s not worth the effort.

Remember that all of the data – more than 21,000 reported sightings at this point – is immediately available to anybody who wants to download, look at or fiddle with the results. Also remember that the Internet Service Providers are watching the reports. We need your help.

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.

— Woody Leonhard

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Thailand

Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Airways

After nearly 9 months on the ground due to the coronavirus pandemic, along with problems balancing their accounts, Thai Airways will resume flights between Bangkok and Chiang Mai as well as Bangkok and Phuket later this month. The flights will start back up on Christmas day.

Flights from Bangkok to the 2 key tourist provinces have been grounded since April 1. Starting December 25, the airline will run 3 flights a week on both routes. A source told the Bangkok Post that the new schedules will run until at least February 28.

Thai Lion Air, Thai Air Asia, Nok Air, Thai Smile, VietJet Air and Bangkok Airways have returned to the domestic skies since July and slowly adding frequency to their routes.

In addition to resuming the domestic flights, the Thai Airways is relaunching some international flights from January 1 to March 27 including weekly flights to Frankfurt, London, Copenhagen, Sydney, Seoul, Manila, Taipei and Osaka. Flights from Bangkok to Tokyo will be available 3 times a week and flights from Bangkok to Hong Kong will be available every day.

Thai Airways has been tackling bankruptcy throughout the lockdown and trying to make up for more than 300 billion baht in losses. Since many flights were suspended due to travel restrictions, Thai Airways has tried to make money by business ventures on the ground, like a pop-up restaurant serving in-flight meals and selling off unwanted equipment from their warehouse. There also disposing of much of their older fleet, including all of their Boring 747-400s.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

97 police officers investigated for fiddling Covid-19 payments

Maya Taylor

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97 police officers investigated for fiddling Covid-19 payments | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.newsbeezer.com

97 police officers, from 41 police stations, are currently being investigated for an alleged scam involving Covid-19 payments meant for officers who worked extra shifts during the crisis. The case was assigned by national police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk in November, when it came to light that some officers may have fraudulently claimed allowances meant for others.

In one incident, an officer responsible for transferring extra payments to police on the southern island of Phuket transferred the money to his own accountant instead. At the time, the transfer was dismissed as a mistake (in his favour), with the officer in question receiving a warning, and payments then made to the qualifying officers.

Wissanu Prasatthong-Osot from the National Internal Affairs Police says the investigation should reach a conclusion within the next 10 days.

“The result of the investigation should be ready in 10 days. Currently, 97 officers in 41 police stations ranging from non-commissioned to generals are under investigation for being involved in the swindle. The bureau aims to provide justice to all policemen involved. After the investigation concludes, the victims will receive their full allowance, while the offending officers will be punished under the law and disciplinary standards.”

Nation Thailand reports that a full list of alleged offenders has been sent to Suwat, with Wissanu promising that none will escape prosecution.

“The National Police chief had also ordered the transfer of offending officers at the commander and sub-commander levels out of their areas as per the investigation procedures.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 77 kaoded

A tourism route from Guangzhou, China to Phuket could help the island province recover from the recession brought on by the pandemic and lack of foreign travel, according to the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The president of the organisation, Narongsak Puttapornmongkol, says they plan to submit a letter proposing the route under a travel bubble scheme to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce is proposing a travel bubble with around 20 cities in China with no recent coronavirus infections and considered to be at a low risk of spreading the virus. Travellers from Guangzhou recently entered Thailand on the new Special Tourist Visa. It was the second flight of international tourists since travel restrictions were imposed in late-March.

“We believe that the Travel Bubble and the quarantine reduction will resolve the tourism business, which is a huge economic opportunity to recover.”

Once a vaccine is widely available, Narongsak suggests that those who wish to Thailand could also present their vaccination certificate or examination reports from the place of origin. He adds that the mandatory state quarantine period is likely to be reduced.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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