B240mn project to roll out 1,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots to cover Phuket beaches
Patong already has 120 free hotspots up and running, and another 29 are in operation in Phuket Town and Saphan Hin, Chaiyut Rodjanapittayakul, Manager of the CAT Telecom Phuket office, told The Phuket News on Wednesday (Jan 4).
The hotspots provide 100/25Mbps connection speeds. “They are active now,” Mr Chaiyut said.
In Patong, free hotspots are operating along Thaweewong Rd (beach road), Bangla Rd, Rath-U-Thit 200 Pee Rd and at Patong Police Station and Patong Hospital.
“On the beach road, free Wi-Fi extends all the way to Kalim junction,” Mr Chaiyut said.
“We also aim to have more free hotspots along Thalang Rd in Phuket Old Town in time for Chinese New Year on Jan 28,” he added.
CAT has already secured the B240mn budget to roll out the rest of the 1,000 hotspots, Mr Chaiyut noted.
“We are only waiting for official internal approval from the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society to install the rest of the hotspots. We expect to have that approval by the end of February,” he said.
“Once complete, Phuket will have free Wi-Fi on every major beach, at every municipal office and tourism attraction on the island by the end of 2017,” Mr Chaiyut said.
In announcing the free Wi-Fi in Patong on Dec 28, Phuket Governor Chockchai Dejamornthan explained that the project was the result of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kebsup, CAT Telecom Public Company, the Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA) and the Phuket City Development Company (PKCD).
The PKCD is the same consortium of Phuket businesses that announced late last year that it is working on getting a genuine bus service up and running in Phuket in 2017. (See story here.)
“The free Wi-Fi is available for everybody to use: Thais and foreigners, and especially tourists on holiday,” Gov Chockchai said.
CAT Phuket Manager Mr Chaiyut explained that to access the free Wi-Fi, users are scan for the “@SmartCityFreeWiFibyCAT” network on their phones.
“Thais will need to enter their ID card number, and foreigners will need to enter their passport number,” he explained.
“Registration can be completed by linking a Facebook or Twitter account. Alternatively, people can provide an email address or a phone number for verification by SMS,” he added.
“It is a simple one-click registration process, which is a step forward for a ‘Smart Life’ in Phuket and in line with a modern digital lifestyle,” Mr Chaiyut said.
Additional reporting by Tanyaluk Sakoot