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Thailand's CAT Builds Bt6bn Fibre-Optic Network - Thailand ForumHigh-speed Internet, TV, phone for 400,000 households
BANGKOK: -- By early next year, people in Bangkok will be able to enjoy what CAT Telecom is calling its "Triple Play" - high-speed Internet, television and telephone - all from one connection to a new fibre-optic cable network.
The state agency is planning to deploy a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network costing Bt6 billion in Bangkok and three neighbouring provinces - Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan - with 400,000 "ports", or home connections.
CAT Telecom's corporate policy manager Sirote Ratanamahatana said the Cabinet approved the agency's FTTP investment plan late in April.
The plan includes laying down the fibre-optic network throughout Bangkok and the neighbouring provinces with the aim of providing all 400,000 ports within the next three years. As well as the physical network, the main costs will include node equipment, modems and network-management equipment.
The first connections to the new FTTH service are expected to be made early next year, and CAT Telecom aims to have at least 50,000 users by the end of 2011.
Sirote said CAT Telecom would offer the service directly to users. The two initial high-speed Internet service packages will cost Bt1,500 per month for 25 Megabits (Mbps) per second and Bt2,000 per month for 100 Mbps.
"This is the primary service, but if users want the Triple Play service they can add television and telephone at an extra cost. This will depend on how our marketing team designs the Triple Play or bundled packages," he said.
CAT Telecom's marketing strategy is to offer not only the high-speed Internet service, but to team up with business partners - content providers - to provide bundled services which will increase the average revenue per unit of its customers.
"While we are on track to implement the FTTH network in Bangkok and the other three provinces, we have also implemented some FTTH infrastructure in some areas of other provinces, such as Phuket, Chiang Mai and Chon Buri," Sirote said.
CAT Telecom is also planning to implement FTTH networks in 10 provinces throughout the country in parallel with its roll out in Bangkok, Nonthaburi. Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan.
"In provincial areas, we will not invest on our own, but will use the FTTH networks of others to deliver our services. With this model, we expect to begin offering FTTH services in those 10 provinces late this year," Sirote said.
He said the investment cost in FTTH networks was about Bt25,000 per port. So if every one of Bangkok's 4 million households wanted an FTTH service, the investment required in order to provide it would be about Bt100 billion.
While most Bangkok people have never before experienced an FTTH service, people in some provinces, such as Chon Buri, have had such services for several years. In Chon Buri, pioneer FTTH service provider Miracle Wave offers a fibre-optic service in Laem Chabang district.
Miracle Wave's managing director Tanongsak Padporm said his company had offered FTTH services for almost two years. In the first year the service was free of charge. Commercial services began early last year. Currently, Miracle Wave has about 700 customers. Its main services are high-speed Internet connection plus Wi-Fi (with 300 Wi-Fi access points throughout Laem Chabang), video on demand and Internet-protocol television.
The cost of Miracle Wave's services range from Bt590 per month for 4Mbps to Bt1,490 per month for 10Mbps and Bt3,500 per month for 30Mbps. This does not include an implementation fee of Bt1,000 and an equipment-guarantee fee of Bt3,900.
"We expect to have 3,000 customers by the end of this year, while our FTTH network will support up to 10,000 ports. We plan to invest more if the demand increases. By the end of this year, we will also expand our network to offer FTTH services to people in Pattaya as well," Tanongsak said.
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