Bangkok's ugly wires may go underground (photos)

Bangkok's ugly wires may go underground (photos)

Putting electricity wires underground would improve beauty of city & prevent collapse of concrete poles carrying too much weight, but would cost tens of billion of baht.

A tangle of overhead power lines. Officials have proposed putting all power, telecommunications and broadcasting cables underground. 


Unsightly wires could vanish

Komsan Tortermvasana

(Photo: Wichan Charoenkiartpakun)

The national telecom regulator is urging the government to replace existing power lines with underground lines in order to remove the clutter of overhead utility wires and ease excess loading.

All existing overhead power, telecommunications and broadcasting cables should be grouped into a single platform below ground, said Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

The initiative is aimed at preventing the possible collapse of concrete power poles as they carry an excessive load of utility lines, Mr Takorn said after meeting 40 telecom licensees and three state electricity authorities yesterday.

"Laying all lines underground will also pave the way for the development of a digital economy, as more and more telecoms and broadcasting companies need to expand their network coverage to serve the policy," he said.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) is on the verge of laying its power lines and cables underground after starting the project in 2011.

The project has proceeded step by step with no disruption, an MEA source said.

Mr Takorn said having power lines placed underground improved the scenic beauty of cities.

Foreign tourists pass a tangle of overhead power lines on Khao San Road.  NATTAPOL LOVAKIJ

He said most telecoms and broadcasters rented cement poles from the MEA and the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) to lay their telecommunications wires, cables and optical fibre lines together with the electricity authorities' power lines.

Under Section 39 of the Frequency Allocation Act, telecom licensees have the right to negotiate with any companies to lay their network lines.

But the state electricity enterprises have denied requests from telecoms wanting to rent their poles to lay lines, as the state agencies say their poles can no longer support the weight of new lines.

The MEA said it had started laying electric lines underground in some areas on a trial basis and could not allow any more networks on top of its poles.

Mr Takorn said a resolution on the underground power grids must be reached soon, as the dispute posed a threat to the government's digital economy policy.

He said telecoms and broadcasting firms had agreed in principle that the government should ask prospective state authorities, especially the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), to oversee the issue and jointly invest with the private sector.

Tens of billion of baht will be required for construction of an underground system, Mr Takorn acknowledged.

Sometimes wires fall down due to a crash or storm, creating a hazard for pedestrians.

He said the BMA would be the most likely authority to take responsibility for the project, as it has the authority to grant permission for the activity in Bangkok.

TOT Plc and CAT Telecom are other potential partners that could jointly invest in the underground project.

The NBTC will hold its next meeting in mid-February before submitting a proposal to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) for consideration, Mr Takorn said.

The NCPO may have to enact a new law to carry out the project.

The law would see to it that all relevant parties moved in the same direction.

Road accidents often result in power poles being knocked down.

(Photo: Wichan Charoenkiartpakun)

(Photo: Wichan Charoenkiartpakun)

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  • acknowledge: to accept or admit that something exists, is true or is real - ยอมรับ
  • activity (noun): a thing that you do for work, interest or pleasure, or in order to achieve a particular aim - กิจกรรม
  • aim: to have as your purpose or goal - มีเป้าหมาย มีจุดมุ่งหมาย
  • authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
  • Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA): the local government of Bangkok - กรุงเทพมหานคร
  • basis (noun): the idea or system that something is "based" on - พื้นฐาน,รากฐาน,หลักสำคัญ
  • broadcasting (noun): the sending out of a programme on television or radio - กระจายเสียง,กระจายข่าว
  • cable: thick strong metal rope used on ships, for supporting bridges, etc. - สายเคเบิ้ล, เชือกหรือเหล็กเส้นขนาดใหญ่
  • carry out (verb): to do something, to finish and complete a task - ทำให้สมบูรณ์, ทำให้สำเร็จ
  • cement: a grey powder made by burning clay and lime that sets hard when it is mixed with water. Cement is used in building to stick bricks together and to make very hard surfaces - ปูนซีเมนต์
  • clutter: too many things in one place that look messy and untidy - รกรุงรัง, เกะกะ
  • collapse: falling down suddenly - การพังลงมา  
  • concrete: a hard substance used in building made by mixing cement, sand, small stones, and water - คอนกรีต
  • consideration: giving careful thought to something before making a decision - การคิดพิจารณา
  • construction: the work of building or making something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. - การก่อสร้าง
  • coverage: the size of the area that is included or covered -
  • deny: to not allow someone to have or do something - ไม่ยอมรับ, ปฏิเสธ
  • development: the gradual growth of something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger, etc - การพัฒนา
  • dispute: a serious disagreement - ข้อโต้แย้ง
  • disruption: a situation in which something cannot continue because of a problem - การขัดขวาง, การหยุดชะงัก
  • ease: to make a problem, situation or pain less severe or serious - บรรเทา
  • enact: to pass into law - ออกกฎหมาย
  • enterprise: an organisation, especially a business - กิจการ, บริษัท,อุตสาหกิจ,วิสาหกิจ
  • especially: more with one person, thing, etc. than with others, or more in particular circumstances than in others - โดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่ง
  • excessive: much greater than is usual; too much of something   - มากเกินปริมาณที่พอดี
  • existing (adj): present now; in use now; used now - ที่มีอยู่
  • expand: to make or become larger - ขยาย
  • grant: to give - ให้
  • grid: a set of wires that carries the electricity supply - สายไฟ
  • in principle: in general terms without knowing the details or whether something is really possible - โดยหลัก
  • initiative: a new action or movement, often intended to solve a problem - ความคิดริเริ่ม
  • invest: to spend money on something in order to make it better or more successful - ลงทุน
  • issue: a problem that needs to be considered - ประเด็น
  • jointly: done together - อย่างร่วมกัน, พร้อมกัน, ด้วยกัน
  • licensee (noun): a person or company that has a licence (official permission) to make something or to use something - ผู้รับใบอนุญาต
  • line: a long thin cord, rope, string or write - สาย, เส้น
  • load (verb): to put a lot of things into a vehicle or machine; to put bullets into a gun or ammunition into a weapon - ใส่,บรรจุ
  • national: a citizen of a particular country - ประชาชน
  • National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC): the independent government agency which oversees and regulates the Thai telecoms and broadcasting industry - สำนักงานคณะกรรมการกิจการกระจายเสียง กิจการโทรทัศน์และกิจการโทรคมนาคมแห่งชาติ
  • National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) (noun): The military-installed group ruling Thailand following the 2014 coup d'état - คณะรักษาความสงบแห่งชาติ
  • negotiate: to try to reach an agreement by discussing something in a formal way - เจรจาต่อรอง
  • network: a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. - เครือข่าย
  • officials: people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
  • on the verge of: to be about to do something very soon; to almost be ready to do something very near to the moment when somebody does something or something happens - เกือบจะทำบางสิ่ง
  • overhead (adv): above your head; in the sky - ที่อยู่เหนือหัว
  • oversee: to watch something in order to check that it works or happens in the way that it should - ตรวจตรา
  • partner: one of the people who owns a business and shares the profits, etc or works together with another business in an activity - หุ้นส่วน, ผู้ร่วมมือ,
  • pave the way for (verb): to create a situation in which something can happen - ปูทาง
  • permission: allowing someone to do something - การอนุญาต,การอนุมัติ,การยินยอม
  • platform (noun): a structure built high above the ground that you can stand on; a structure built in/above the sea - แท่น
  • pole: a long thin stick, or piece of wood or concrete, often used for holding or supporting something - เสา, หลัก, คาน
  • policy (noun): a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group - นโยบาย
  • pose: cause something, especially a problem or difficulty - เป็นเหตุให้
  • potential: possible in the future - ที่อาจเป็นไปได้
  • power line (noun): a large wire carrying electricity to homes and businesses -
  • prevent (verb): to stop somebody from doing something; to stop something from happening - ขัดขวาง, ป้องกัน, กัน, กีดขวาง
  • private sector: businesses and industries that are not owned or controlled by the government - ภาคเอกชน
  • proceed: to carry out an activity - ดำเนินการ
  • project: a planned piece of work that is designed to find information about something, to produce something new, or to improve something - โครงการ
  • proposal: a plan or suggestion for a group to consider - ข้อเสนอ
  • propose: to suggest an idea for a group to consider - เสนอ
  • prospective: expected to do something or to become something - ที่คาดหวังไว้, ที่มุ่งหวัง
  • regulator: an official (or organisation) who makes certain that the companies who operate a system work effectively and fairly - ผู้มีอำนาจควบคุม
  • relevant: directly connected and important to what is being discussed or considered - ที่เกี่ยวข้อง
  • rent: paying money for the use of something for a period of time - ค่าเช่า
  • request: an act of asking for something in a formal or polite way - การขอร้อง
  • resolution: an official decision that is made after a group or organisation have voted - มติ
  • secretary-general (noun): the person who is in charge of the department that deals with the running of a large international or political organisation - เลขาธิการ, เลขาธิการใหญ่
  • source: a place where information comes from; someone who gives information - แหล่งข่าว
  • state: government - รัฐบาล
  • step: one of a series of actions that you do in order to achieve a particular aim - ขั้นตอน
  • step by step: doing some project in many separate "steps" , when all the "steps" are complete, then the project will be complete -
  • submit: to formally give something to someone so that can make a decision about it - ยื่น (เอกสาร) เพื่อการพิจารณา
  • support (noun): preventing something from falling down or decreasing -
  • take responsibility for: to say or admit you are the cause of something, usually something bad - แสดงความรับผิดชอบ
  • tangle: to make something into an untidy disorganised mass - พันกันยุ่ง
  • telecom: a business in the telecommunications industry - โทรคมนาคม)
  • telecommunications: the science and technology of sending information by telephone, radio, or television - โทรคมนาคม
  • threat: a danger - อันตราย
  • trial: a test, usually over a limited period of time, to discover how effective or suitable something or someone is - การทดลอง, การทดสอบ
  • unsightly: ugly, not pleasant to look at - น่าเกลียด, ไม่น่าดู
  • urge: to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take - ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น
  • utility: a service provided for the public, for example an electricity, water or gas supply - สาธารณูปโภค, การบริการสาธารณะ
  • vanish: to disappear or stop being present or existing, especially in a sudden, surprising way - หายไป
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