MoU signed for UniNet upgrade
The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation is working with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to upgrade the capacity of the ministry's UniNet high-speed communication fibre network for the benefit of innovative R&D learning.
The cooperation is under a five-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) agreement signed by the two agencies yesterday.
The agreement is aimed at enhancing the high-speed communication system for higher education institutes with free WiFi through the UniNet network, which also connects with 100 other global education networks.
The cooperation would also be beneficial to the government's Universal Service Obligation (USO) programme meant to drive the country's digital transformation.
Sirirerk Songsivilai, permanent secretary for the ministry, said UniNet has 68,000 kilometres of optic fibre that provides high-speed internet services for universities.
UniNet is used by 2 million university students as well as around 200,000 lecturers and university staff.
"The second round of the pandemic comes with a push for streamlined distance learning or online education in higher education. Earlier we thought 100% online education could take shape in 10 years," Mr Sirirerk said.
Cooperation with the NBTC would be a boon for education, research and innovation as well as science and technology, he said.
The ministry and the NBTC would exchange knowledge and work with UniNet staff for the support of the USO scheme, which will be handled by the telecom regulator.
Hi-speed internet network does not only serve as a fundamental infrastructure but has also become a paramount driver for the country's innovation and research, he said.
"The collaboration would enhance the capability of UniNet's members, lecturers and researchers in line with the fifth-generation [5G] wireless broadband development, along with Thailand 5.0 strategy in the future," Mr Sirirerk said.
The ministry also set out a vision to bring the country's education, science, research and innovation to international standards and climb the competitiveness ranking sustainably.