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The ICT Minister announces that his ministry has joined hands with telecom giants to provide free wi-fi access at thousands of locations across country. But can it overcome the shortcomings of the current system?
Free wi-fi: improvements needed
Free wi-fi (wireless internet), allowing users to connect to the internet without charge anywhere, anytime in locations that offer it, sounds like a great idea, particularly for those with low incomes.
Thus, there is some excitement over the announcement by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) that it has joined hands with giant mobile phone and internet network service providers to offer the people free access to wireless internet in several thousand locations across the country.
ICT Minister Anudith Nakornthap said the free wi-fi initiative is aimed at providing all Thais with an opportunity to access to the wireless internet regardless of their earnings, whereabouts or other factors.
In fact, there is a free wi-fi service already in existence, the minister added. It is currently available in some 50,000 to 60,000 locations, mostly in communities, department stores, restaurants, hotels, academic institutes and other public venues.
Registration is required yet it is simple. Basically, all users need to register online with their identification number and email address. A username and password is sent back to them via the provided email.
If the current service is any indication, however, even an improved system is likely to have limitations.
First of all, there are time restrictions. Advanced Info Service (AIS) currently allows 5 hours usage per month for its free wireless service and another five hours per month on the 3BB network, which is AIS' business partner.
The state-owned TOT network allows no more than two hours usage per each log-on. True Corp offers 15 hours per month, but no more than 30 minutes per day.
Download speeds generally vary from 2Mbps to 10Mbps, faster in a few locations, but as any user knows, actual speeds can often be less than those advertised.
Finally, there is the question of availability. Is the system actually up and running? The Bangkok Post’s Life section recently tested free wireless internet services at several locations around Bangkok. The results are below.
Adapted from a story by Arusa Pisuthipan in today's Bangkok Post.
Wi-fi (also spelled Wifi or WiFi) – a popular technology that allows an electronic device to exchange data wirelessly (using radio waves) over a computer network, including high-speed Internet connections.
location – where someone or something is ที่ตั้ง,ทำเล
income – money that someone gets from working or from investing money รายได้
announcement – a spoken or written statement that informs people about something การประกาศ
join hands – to work together to achieve something ร่วมมือกัน
service provider –
access – having the opportunity to have or use something มีโอกาสในการใช้
initiative – a new action or movement, often intended to solve a problem ความคิดริเริ่ม
aim – to have as your purpose or goal มีเป้าหมาย มีจุดมุ่งหมาย
opportunity – a chance to do something, or a situation in which it is easy for you to do something โอกาส
regardless – despite; not being affected by something
whereabouts – where someone is ที่อยู่,สถานที่,ตำแหน่งที่
factor – a fact or situation which influences the result of something ปัจจัย
in existence – now in use มีอยู่
available – that you can get, find or buy มีอยู่, หาได้
community – the people living in one particular area ชุมชน
academic institutes – schools, universities and colleges that provide educational services
public – open to people in general สาธารณะ
venue – the place where an activity or event happens สถานที่
registration – the process of recording names or information on an official list การขึ้นทะเบียน, การลงทะเบียน
simple – easy to understand; not complicated ง่าย,ไม่ยุ่งยาก, ไม่ซับซ้อน
identification number– an official number that can be used to prove who you are เลขประชาชน
via – through ผ่าน
indication – a sign that something happened, is true or exists เครื่องบ่งชี้
limitation – a rule or situation that puts a limit on something ข้อจำกัด
restriction – a rule, action or situation that limits or controls someone or something การจำกัด, การควบคุม
currently – at this time; now ในปัจจุบัน
state – government รัฐบาล
vary – to be different in different situations ปรวนแปร, เปลี่ยนแปลง, แตกต่าง