Monday, January 02, 2006

Changes in Thailand's IT scenario expected in 2006

There are 2 major issues which are related to IT and both of them just came out in the news a couple weeks ago.

1) The National Communication Board (perhaps I did not use its official name, nevermind) would liberate the setting up of international Internet gateways and now any Thai company (>51% Thai share ownership) would be allowed to do so: just informing the board. Previously, CAT and TOT, both former state's agencies, locked up as duopoly on the international gateway set up. As a consequence, Internet access cost has been expensive, since no other companies could set up an international link. Now I can see that in 2006 onward, the Internet access cost should slightly come down. Personally, this might not affect me immediately since I have a 1 yr contract with my current broadband Internet service provider (True Corp.) but perhaps my rate might come down in January 2007. Anyway, I can see that bandwidth will likely improve, both for Thailand's international bandwidths as well as domestic (inter-ISP) bandwidths.

2) The purchase of 250,000 PC for Thai public schools. The price tag of 13 billion Baht looked like they would be buying laptops but I guess that the price tag include the peripherals as well. I do not have strong objection on this too much, except that if the purchase is from each school, we would eliminate much of the corruption associated with centralized procurement of MOE. Against the wish of the Thai public, I guess politicians will try to milk benefit from this nevertheless and the central procurement will go on as usual: I can bet on that.

My major concern, however, is on technicality. I hope they would use the free (and yet higher stability) Linux OS with them, instead of buying the 3 yr old (virus prone and less stable) WindowsXP. (I have a sense that this wish of mine would not be a reality.) That would save billions of Baht from the software purchase. It will also generate millions of Linux users in the future. New generation of Thai should learn to use free softwares, not illegal softwares.

Also I wish that a part of the big budget would go to the development of the contents for the school. I also suspect that this wish of mine would not become true as well.

Will see in a few months how things will turn out.

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