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TOT Phuket budget slashed by ICT Ministry



TOT Phuket budget slashed by ICT Ministry | Thaiger

PHUKET: The Phuket office of the Telephone Organization of Thailand (TOT) will not get the 100-million-baht budget it says it needs to carry out its planned network expansion for the island. Instead, it will be lucky if it gets about half that amount, the head of the TOT in Phuket told the Gazette on Monday. Late last year, Phuket’s TOT office requested 100 million baht to increase the number of telephone exchanges on the island from 12 to 37, as part of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry’s project to make Phuket one of three “ICT pilot provinces”. The expansion was intended to add 19,530 new telephone lines to the existing 40,676 and provide telephone lines to more than 80% of applicants currently on the waiting list. But TOT Phuket head Pairoj Somsri said that a recent meeting with Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry officials in Bangkok had been fruitless, and he now expects to get less than half of the requested amount. “The discussions with representatives from the three ICT provinces [the other two are Khon Kaen and Chiang Mai] on May 13 failed to reach a conclusion. Still, I remain optimistic that we will get 38.8 million baht in 2004 funding to install 19 new telephone exchanges and 8,100 telephone numbers,” he said. He declined to say which parts of the island would get the new exchanges if the funding comes though, citing “competition” in the market. Suporn Chuenpimolchankij, Director of TOT Phuket’s Marketing and Customer Services Center, told the Gazette that meeting the public demand for telephone lines is fundamental if Phuket is to become an ICT leader. “In our opinion, people should have access to basic telephone lines before we can move on to higher technology,” he said.


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