NBTC may bar TOT from state contracts

NBTC may bar TOT from state contracts

TOT could be barred from bidding for other state projects if any of the three contracts given to the company under the Universal Service Obligation (USO) Net project are terminated by the regulator, which has acknowledged that TOT failed to deliver the contracted work on time, says a source working at the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) who requested anonymity.

The three contracts are among eight awarded by the NBTC to five winners in a 2017 e-auction to provide low-fee fixed broadband internet service, as well as cellular service, to 3,920 villages.

An NBTC committee monitoring the project will hold a meeting to discuss the scheme tomorrow.

The source at the NBTC said the committee would propose a resolution to terminate TOT's three contracts and propose another e-auction for the tasks TOT failed to deliver on.

"If the three contracts are terminated, TOT may be at risk of being blacklisted from bidding on other state projects in the future," the source said. However, TOT will be given 15 days to appeal the resolution.

The NBTC signed eight contracts worth 13 billion baht with five bid winners in late 2017. The five winners were TOT, CAT Telecom, True Internet Corporation, TrueMove H Universal Communication and Interlink Telecom.

Under the USO Net project, designated villages will be able to access broadband internet services at a minimum connection speed of 30 megabits per second for a monthly fee of up to 200 baht.

Under the project, four contracts involve broadband internet service and four concern mobile phone service.

TOT won a 2.1-billion-baht contract to install internet broadband service in the North's Zone 2 and a 2.4-billion-baht contract for the same service in northeastern provinces.

The state telecom enterprise also won a 1.8-billion-baht contract to provide mobile phone service in the North's Zone 1.

In pursuing broadband network projects, TOT imported and installed Chinese optical fibre lines, which conflicts with specification requirements, the source said.

The source said the project aims to promote local suppliers under a digitally driven policy.

Local suppliers must be sought if the relevant equipment can be supplied by more than three local vendors, the source said.

Additionally, TOT failed to deliver the contracted USO Net buildings on time, according to the source. Only 10% of 300 buildings required under the contracts have been completed.

The tasks concerning mobile service and mobile access nodes have been delivered on schedule.

NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said the delay in USO Net's broadband network, which was contracted to be completed a year ago, is taking a heavy toll on the country, particularly by depriving people in remote areas of access.

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