News

Articles:

Leave No Thai Behind: Promoting equality of digital access in Thailand

Leave No Thai Behind: Promoting equality of digital access in Thailand

Thailand,
having had a large digital divide in the past, is now looking to promote
equality when it comes to digital access. The Thai government has partnered up
with Google in a bid to reduce the digital divide that exists in Thailand.

The first
Google for Thailand event was held in Bangkok yesterday under the theme of
“Leave No Thai behind”. During the event google announced a series of
initiatives that it will be undertaking, in partnership with the Thai
government. These initiatives include, free high speed public Wi-fi that will
enable more Thai businesses and consumers to contribute to the growth of the
digital economy.

In 2013,
the Thai government announced that it was working towards increasing digital
access in Thailand through increasing mobile penetration from 52% to 133% in
2020. This is done through the following,
including the creation of a smart city development of a master plan, the
development of mechanisms for public to private partnerships, the creation of a
city data platform, the promotion of innovative solutions and the building of
ecosystems for Smart City development.

This goal
would not only increase the Thai GDP but would also have profound socio-economic
impacts. These
include
improving productivity by simplifying jobs and allowing
professionals to focus less on mundane activities, which will be automatized my
technology, and instead, focus more on higher order work.

Increasing
digital access will also help in driving the creation of new businesses.  As the quality of ICT goods
and services continues to progress, prices are being driven down and this will lead
to an ever-widening range of new applications. People are becoming used to ICT,
and business-to-consumer electronic commerce is starting to follow the lead
that business-to-business electronic commerce set in the 1990s.

Increasing digital access would also help
catalyse Thailand’s transformation into a Smart City. When digital access is
increased, the government will be able to create national security and
healthcare apps allowing the Thai people to access all the national information
that they need on the go.

Thailand
has faced many
challenges when it comes to building its digital economy and society. One of
these challenges was the lack of awareness by the less educated individuals and
individuals from lower social-economic backgrounds. The Thai government had
therefore set the goal to reduce the digital divide and has been implementing
initiatives to promote the equality of digital access in Thailand. The
partnership with Google, is an example of one of these initiatives.

The access
to free, high speed public Wi-fi will allow individuals who cannot afford to
purchase expensive data plans to experience what it would be like to be online.
Given that they have free and easy access to the Internet of Things (IoT), they
become motivated to learn how to use these services. When they are more
comfortable with being online, they begin to feel more secure with accessing
national and important information online as well and their dependence on
hardcopy or visual information, such as those on the news on television, will
decrease.

According to the Prime Minister of
Thailand, the government is moving several critical projects related
to the digital economy, including smart cities, digital government, big data
management and cybersecurity the premier said.

When
individuals with different socio-economic backgrounds can get access to the
same types of information at the same time, the digital divide is reduced. The
Thai government will then be at liberty to convert some of its national
platforms and apps to be online, allowing Thailand to move towards its goal of
being a Smart City.

0 Shares