Instead, PEA Patong Chief Watcharin Prapha says the project is taking great strides in making the streets of Phuket’s key tourism town look nicer.
The project began in March this year, when representatives from companies including AIS, DTAC, CAT, True and 3BB were told at a meeting in Patong that they were to observe an official order issued by the Ministry of Interior in Bangkok on March 9. (See story here.)
That order coincidentally followed a public sledging of the cable eyesore by Bill Gates in July last year that instantly spurred a B51-billion budget to tidy up the streets of Bangkok – with nothing for Phuket. (See story here.)
Although the cables technically belong to the telecommunications companies, the PEA was tasked with clearing up the mess as the PEA owns the utility poles the cables hang from.
“Our goal is to tidy up ugly 40,000 metres of cables along streets in our area, which covers Patong, Kata and Karon,” Patong PEA Chief Mr Wacharin told The Phuket News today (Dec 11).
So far, as of today (Dec 11), cables along more than 13,790 metres along the streets of Patong have been tidied up, he added.
In the initial stage of the project the whole length of 3,000m along Phra Mettha Rd was tidied up by June 10 this year, Mr Watcharin explained.
“In July we completed 2,040m of cables; in August 3,600m; in September 1,800m; in October 1,850m; and in November 1,500m,” he said.
“In December, our target is to tidy up 1,500m of more cables,” he added.
Further progress will not slow down, Mr Watcharin confirmed. In fact the project will gain speed, he said.
“Our next goal is to have 35,000m of cables tidied up by December 31, 2018,” he confirmed.
The predicted rate of progress comes despite Mr Watcharin explaining in March that the local PEA office will have to source the budget bit by bit.
“I know it seems they we are not working very quickly on this, but we must be considerate of how this affects people and are working on it. We carry out this work only four Saturdays per month to minimise the impact on local residents and businesses,” Mr Watcharin told The Phuket News.
“We have already drawn up our plans for other parts of Patong to be completed next year, and the project will continue past 2018,” he said.
Although Mr Watcharin revealed earlier this year that the next big push would be to bury underground all the unsightly cables – including power mains supply cables – along the Patong beachfront, he told The Phuket News today that further details on that front would be revealed at a meeting at the Phuket Governor’s House tomorrow (Dec 12).
When the power cables along the beachfront are buried, the messy tangles of communications cables will also disappear, Mr Watcharin assured in March.
“Yes, they must go too,” he said at the time.