WiFi among the rice paddies

The uneven distribution of broadband connectivity in Thailand has long been a hindrance to sustainable development in the kingdom. It has had a negative impact on business start-ups in the countryside, and this “digital divide” has prevented non-urban Thais from accessing the internet.

Things, however, are changing.

Khun Ten, owner of Gecko Villa, a private pool villa set among his rice and lime plantations in the countryside of Udon Thani province, has taken advantage of a new base station that the government-owned telephony company has installed in a nearby village.

“Previously, we were only able to manage our online distribution via a relatively slow internet connection, using a plug and play USB modem. This also limited connectivity for our guests. With our newly installed broadband Wi-Fi it has become a lot easier for us to manage our business, and the real upside has been that our guests - who have consistently grown ever more data-hungry, now enjoy fast and unlimited Wi-Fi for all the family. We are fully aware that today’s guests regard a good internet connection as a must-have, so provide this service for free.”

The Thai government’s initiative to roll out broadband internet, even into the rice paddies of its remotest provinces, will not only help the locals to develop more sustainable businesses, but will provide them with access to information and education, resources that have not always been the most accessible in these parts of the country.

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