Internet in Thailand

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Thailand obtained internet access in 1996 as the third country in South East Asia. Since then, the use of the Internet has become more popular in the cities and also more accessible to different areas in the country. About 8.6 million people use the internet every day in Thailand, according to Google Thailand’s 2012 figures, and 24 million people have regular access, representing over one-third the population.[1]

Broadband Internet is readily available in major cities and towns, including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, and Phuket, but is still to be sought after in smaller villages and in the countryside. As the statistics have shown, the majority of Internet users in Thailand still rely on dial-up access. TOT operates a nationwide local rate number, 1222, allowing dialing to most Internet service providers. Dial-up prepaid Internet packs can be readily bought in convenience stores and other places. Subscribers of fixed telephone lines by True Corporation have access to dial up Internet by dialing a certain number and then being billed on their normal telephone bill.

The majority of broadband Internet access uses Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL). Some areas are covered by Cable Modems and G.shdsl. Consumer broadband Internet bandwidth ranges from 2 Mbit/s to 50 Mbit/s (Up to 200 Mbit/s in some major cities especially Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket). Medium and large businesses use Leased Lines or Ethernet Internet/MPLS where fiber optic cables link many office buildings in the central business district areas such as Sukhumvit, Silom and Sathorn areas to the Thailand Internet backbone. Universities have access to fast Internet access, including the Trans-Eurasia Information Network (TEIN2) research network.

A 3G UMTS/HSDPA network was launched in Bangkok and its vicinity in December 2009 with speed up to 7.2 Mbit/s on the 2100 MHz band. In the late 2011, Telephone Organization of Thailand released 3G on HSPA+ technology covering all areas in Bangkok with the speed of up to 42 Mbit/s. Major mobile network operators in Thailand also have released their 3G services at around the same time on the 850 MHz and 900 MHz bands with the same technology and connection speed. There are initiatives to offer mainstream FTTH (Fiber to the Home) providing bandwidth of up to 100 Mbit/s bundled with IPTV and VoIP. FTTH with speeds up to 30 Mbit/s is available in limited areas in major cities, including Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai.

Thailand saw a rapid growth in the number of broadband users in 2005 with the initiation of unmetered broadband in 2004.[2] There are 1,116,000 (2008) Internet hosts in Thailand being the highest in South East Asia.[3]

Thais spend an average of 16 hours dedicated to internet time per week.[4]

Internet Domain Names[edit]

  • Country code top-level Domain (ccTLD): .th
    • Second Level Domains
      • .ac for Academic Institutions
      • .co for Commercial Companies
      • .in for Individuals or any others (from 2002)
      • .go for Governmental Organizations
      • .mi for Military Organizations
      • .or for Registered Non-profit Organizations
      • .net for officially registered Internet Service Providers

Internet Backbones[edit]

International & Domestic Bandwidth[5][edit]

Month/Year International Bandwidth (Mbit/s) Domestic Bandwidth (Mbit/s)
02/2013 526,063 1,072,055
08/2012 405,860 1,006,140
08/2010 158,680 721,217
12/2009 104,595 619,317
12/2008 55,095 251,091
12/2007 22,073 157,010
12/2006 9,909 53,773
12/2005 6,808 28,721
12/2004 3,006 21,379
12/2003 1,438 10,409
12/2002 1,011 2,572
12/2001 642 1,089
12/2000 255 584

As of November 2009, Thailand had a total international Internet bandwidth of 106,787 Mbit/s. Thailand domestic Internet bandwidth was significantly higher at 607,526 Mbit/s.[6] This is because of an increase in provision of local contents. Internet users in Thailand usually get maximum speed of their connection to content providers within Thailand with very minimal ping of 5-50ms but a speed of 70% or less for international connection with higher pings of 70-400ms.

The amount of international bandwidth has recently increased dramatically due to the popularity of social networking services such as YouTube, Hi5, Twitter, Facebook and increased number of broadband Internet subscribers.

International Gateways[edit]

There are 10 international Internet gateway operators in Thailand.

Code Name Operator
ADC-IIG ADC International Internet Gateway Advance Datanetwork Communications
BBConnect-IIG BB Connect Internet Gateway BB Connect
CAT-IIG International Internet Gateway CAT Telecom
CSL-IIG CS Loxinfo International Internet Gateway CS Loxinfo
JASTEL-IIG JasTel International Internet Gateway JasTel
Symphony-IIG Symphony International Internet Gateway Symphony Communication
SBN-IIG SBN International Internet Gateway Super Broadband Network
TCCT-IIG TCCT International Internet Gateway TCC Technology
TIG-IIG True International Internet Gateway True Internet
TOT-IIG International Internet Gateway TOT

True Corporation and Shin Corporation were granted Type II International Internet Gateway and Internet Exchange Service License from the NTC (National Telecommunication Committee) in 2005. CAT Telecom holds the largest share of the market.[7]

Domestic Internet Exchange[edit]

There are 10 domestic Internet Exchange Points in Thailand.[8]

Before 2003, IIR Public Internet Exchange was the largest Internet exchange point in Thailand. As of August 2003, it is mandatory for all ISP to have a presence in the National Internet Exchange (CAT-NIX) operated by CAT Telecom. CAT-NIX, TIG-NIX, TOT-NIX and TTGN-NIX are primary Internet exchanges used by commercial Internet service providers. CAT-NIX is now largest Internet exchange point in Thailand with more than 100Gbit/s domestic bandwidth to all ISP. Links between different Internet exchanges are now setup, reducing domestic bandwidth costs.

The IIR Public Internet Exchange is now maintained by NECTEC and is used only for academic and research purposes. The only commercial Internet service provider connected to the IIR Public Internet Exchange is Internet Thailand.

Internet Service Providers[edit]

Rights to operate as an Internet service provider in Thailand are granted by the NTC (National Telecommunications Council).[9]

Most of broadband Internet access in Thailand is offered through ADSL technology. Previously before 2002, broadband Internet access was offered at more than 25,000 Baht a month for a typical speed of 256 kbit/s. Later in 2002, TOT sparked a low-cost broadband Internet war that caused rapid growth in broadband Internet demands and has changed the way all the ISPs operate. With a ground-breaking price for an unlimited 256 kbit/s, TOT gained its popularity among online gamers in Thailand. However, TOT was unable to provide services to the majority of people in Bangkok due to the fact that half of the fixed line telephone system was operated by Telecom Asia Co.,Ltd (now known as True Corp) under a concession. At the same time, Asia InfoNet has started its own ADSL service with a "free online game airtime" strategy since they also operate Ragnarok Online, the most famous online game at that time. Outside of Bangkok, TT&T teamed up with CAT Telecom to provide unlimited 2 Mbit/s ADSL service after three months of operation.

It is commonly believed that the popularity of online gaming at that time was the ignition for the demands of broadband Internet in Thailand.[citation needed]

Most broadband Internet users in Thailand complain about the ISPs not being able to provide the speeds they promised. Many Internet service providers have high contention ratios on home ADSL packages, sometimes up to 1:50. There was also limited international bandwidth due to CAT Telecom being the sole provider of international Internet gateway, but this has improved since the liberalization of Internet gateway operations in 2005. At that time, most ISPs focus on expanding their domestic connections to accommodate online gaming demands. This led to a come-back of premium ADSL packages at a higher price point for premium home users and corporate customers. Although many users still argue that these packages will still not improve the international bandwitdh availability for home users. Internet service providers are usually also criticized for throttling BitTorrent traffic.

Recently, there were dramatic increases in international bandwidth after the NTC authorized more ISPs to set up their own international Internet gateways to cope with the growth in demand for contents requiring higher bandwidth.

In early 2009, Jasmine International launched ADSL services under the '3BB' brand in major cities offering speeds up to 3 Mbit/s for 590 Baht. This prompted True Internet to expand their services to 8 Mbit/s from 5 Mbit/s and matched 3BB prices.

In mid-2009, 3BB offers minimum speed 4 Mbit/s for 590 Baht and expand their services from 8 Mbit/s to 10 Mbit/s 1,490 Baht / month, prompting True Internet to temporarily offer free upgrades for current 8 Mbit/s users to 12 Mbit/s. All of Maxnet's customers were also transferred to 3BB as part of the TT&T debt rehabilitation plan proposed by the debt holders. As of October 2009, True offers speeds up to 16 Mbit/s.

TOT and ADC have a local loop unbundling agreement allowing for ADC to provide ADSL services on TOT phone lines. Since most telephone wires in major cities are still on poles and not underground, there is no limit to how many phone lines can enter a building. This has prompted for many Internet service providers to offer DSL services without any phone services. A new wire is simply run to the premises requiring the service, bypassing the need for any further local loop unbundling agreements.

Wired[edit]

ISP Name Technology Speed Additional Information
True Internet ADSL2+, VDSL2, Cable Modem, G.shdsl/SDSL, Leased Line, MPLS 6 Mbit/s, 8 Mbit/s, 10 Mbit/s, 14 Mbit/s, 16Mbit/s,[10] 30Mbit/s, 50Mbit/s, 100Mbit/s[11] True utilizes both CAT IIG and its own international gateway.
3BB ADSL2+, VDSL2, Leased Line, FTTH(Currently available in some areas) 10 Mbit/s, 13 Mbit/s, 16 Mbit/s, 20 Mbit/s, 50 Mbit/s,[12] 30 Mbit/s, 50 Mbit/s, 100 Mbit/s [13] Jasmine International used to be joint with TT&T and operated under the name 'Maxnet'. Now operates under the name '3BB' (Spell "Three Broadband").
TOT ADSL2+, Leased Line, FTTH(Available in some areas) 6 Mbit/s, 9 Mbit/s, 12 Mbit/s, 15 Mbit/s[14] TOT offers FTTH (Fiber to the home) package in Phuket with the speed up to 30Mbit/s. TOT is expanding their broadband Internet services in provincial areas where it owns almost all of the fixed line telephone infrastructure.
CAT Telecom ADSL, G.shdsl/SDSL, Cable, Leased Line, FTTH 4 Mbit/s, 10 Mbit/s, 50Mbp/s, 100Mbit/s, 1Gbit/s It has teamed up with some local cable television providers to provide broadband via Cable up to 10 Mbit/s.
KSC Internet Dial-up, ADSL, Leased Line owned by True Corporation but branded for the upper-end market. Founded in 1994 as a joint venture between Internet Knowledge Center Co., Ltd. (IKSC) and the Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT), KSC was the first commercial Internet service provider (ISP) in Thailand.[15]
CS Loxinfo Dial-up, ADSL, Leased Line, Fiber, MPLS Up to 1Gbit/s Part of InTouch Group. Corporate-customer focused with SME broadband options. Services cover Bangkok and Provincial areas. Bangkok downtown area customers are also offered high-speed CSL-Symphony Gigabit Ring access options.
KIRZ IPLC, Leased Line, FiOS, BWA 10Mbit/s,100Mbit/s,1Gbit/s,10Gbit/s Independent ISP with nationwith operation, and its carrier neutral data center to provide premium services for both access and colocation.
TT&T ADSL TT&T no longer operates as an ISP due to the company's recent restructuring and debt rehabilitation plan. All of the previous TT&T and Maxnet Internet customers were transferred to 3BB.
Buddy Broadband ADSL Operated by Advance Datanetwork Communications (ADC), part of Shin Corporation telecommunications conglomerate. Buddy Broadband (commonly known as BuddyBB) is offering Internet access only through ADSL technology. Unlike other ISPs, BuddyBB has integrated its Internet service with IPTV service. The other difference is that BuddyBB has only the connection speed of 2 Mbit/s but with only 256 kbit/s for international connections for its cheapest package. Higher-end packages have higher international connection speeds. Full BuddyBB service with IPTV is only available in Bangkok and nearby provinces, however, it also operate its ADSL Internet service in major cities such as Chiang Mai and Phuket with different packages and pricing through resellers. As of January 2012, they offer higher speeds up to 8 Mbit/s in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
Internet Thailand Dial-up, ADSL, Leased Line First commercial ISP in Thailand[16]
Pacnet Dial-up, ADSL, G.shdsl/SDSL, Leased Line, Ethernet Focusses more on corporate customers
Jasmine Internet Dial-up, ADSL, Leased Line Not to be confused with Jasmine International
ISSP Dial-up, ADSL, Leased Line
Samart Dial-up, ADSL, G.shdsl/SDSL, Leased Line
A-Net Dial-up, ADSL, Leased Line
Otaro/InterNetwork Dial-up, ADSL, Leased Line
Proen Internet Dial-up, ADSL, Leased Line
Far East Internet
Reach Thailand
Chomanan Worldnet
KIRZ Internet
Thai-Fi G.shdsl/SDSL, Leased Line, Cable 4 Mbit/s, 5 Mbit/s, 8 Mbit/s, 10 Mbit/s, 12 Mbit/s, 16Mbit/s [17] Thai-Fi is the registered trademark of JCMR Co., Ltd., a Thai company founded in 2003 by US and Thai citizens which provides wireless network design, installation, configuration, security, and maintenance to apartment, condominium and office buildings, offices, hotels, caf้s, restaurants, individual residences and businesses using 802.11 technology.
WorldWeb
Beenets/UIH
Milcom
Loxley
ISPIO (NIPA)
TCC Technology Fiber,MPLS,Leased Line
NTT

Wireless[edit]

ISP Name Technology Speed Additional Information
Advance Info Service (AIS) GPRS, EDGE, UMTS/HSDPA/HSPA/HSPA+ 3.9G Up to 42 Mbit/s HSPA+ is currently operated on the 2100 MHz band. EDGE is currently operated on the 900 MHz.
CAT Telecom 3G CDMA EVDO, UMTS/HSDPA/HSPA/HSPA+ 3.9G Up to 42 Mbit/s Coverage is non-central 51 provinces
DTAC GPRS, EDGE, UMTS/HSDPA/HSPA/HSPA+ 3.9G Up to 42 Mbit/s Mobile Internet services recently underwent heavy rebranding as 'DTAC Internet'. UMTS/HSDPA 3.9G is available to a select group of 2000 users for testing on the 850 MHz band
iKool 3G HSDPA 3.5G Up to 7.2 Mbit/s UMTS/HSDPA 3.5G coverage is Bangkok and vicinity on the 2100 MHz band. Currently offering 3G services on TOT 3G's network. The network is run and operated by Loxley.
iMobile 3Gx HSDPA 3.5G Up to 7.2 Mbit/s UMTS/HSDPA 3.5G coverage is Bangkok and vicinity on the 2100 MHz band. Currently offering 3G services on TOT 3G's network. The network is run by Samart.
Mojo 3G HSDPA 3.5G Up to 7.2 Mbit/s UMTS/HSDPA 3.5G coverage is Bangkok and vicinity on the 2100 MHz band. Currently offering 3G services on TOT 3G's network. The network is run and operated by Mconzult.
TOT UMTS/HSDPA/HSPA/HSPA+ 3.9G, Wi-Fi Up to 42 Mbit/s UMTS/HSDPA 3.9G coverage is Bangkok and vicinity on the 2100 MHz band
TrueMove GPRS, EDGE Up to 256 kbit/s True has the largest coverage of over 15,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in Bangkok. This boost has been coupled with the Bangkok Green Wifi project, covering many outdoor areas on main roads.
RealMove/RealFuture (TrueMove-H) UMTS/HSDPA/HSPA/HSPA+, CDMA2000 1xRTT and 3G CDMA EVDO 3.9G, Wi-Fi Up to 42 Mbit/s, CDMA Up to 153 kbit/s (for 1xRTT) and 3.1 Mbit/s (for EVDO) True is the first 4G mobile operator in Thailand.

Note: For 3G, Only CAT, Hutch, TOT and its MVNOs are considered as legally commercial service. In 2012, The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) held an auction and approved 2100 MHz licenses to 3 operators (Advanced Wireless Network of Advanced Info Service (AIS), DTAC Network of Total Access Communication (DTAC), and Real Future of True Corp)[18] and 3G service under 2100 MHz is expected to operated by Q2 of 2013.

Internet Data Centers (IDC)[edit]

This section lists the commercial Internet data centers in Thailand.

Name Address City
CAT Internet Data Center (Bangkok) CAT Telecom Tower, Charoen Krung Road Bangkok
CAT Internet Data Center (Chiang Mai) CAT Customer Service Center Chiang Mai
CAT Internet Data Center (Khon Kaen) CAT Customer Service Center Khon Kaen
CAT Internet Data Center (Phuket) CAT Customer Service Center Phuket
CSLoxinfo Internet Data Center CAT Telecom Tower, Charoen Krung Road Bangkok
CSLoxinfo Internet Data Center Cyber World Tower (4th Flr), Ratchadaphisek Road (MRT : Cultural Center) Bangkok
CSLoxinfo Internet Data Center The Cloud Building, Ratchada-Ramindhra Road (Ready for service : May 2014) Bangkok
Internet Thailand Public Company Limited Thai Summit Tower (10th Flr) on New Petchaburi Road Bangkok
ISSP Internet Data Center CAT Telecom Tower, Charoen Krung Road Bangkok
ISPIO (NIPA) Internet Data Center CAT Telecom Tower (4th Flr) Bangkok
KIRZ Data Center Queen Sirikit National Convention Center Bangkok
Nettree Internet Data Center CAT Telecom Tower (4th Flr), Charoen Krung Road Bangkok
Pacnet Data Center CAT Telecom Tower (20th Flr), Charoen Krung Road Bangkok
ServeNet Data Center New Geneva Building, Popular 3 Road, Muang Thong Thani Pathum Thani
SheepLink Data Center New Geneva Building, Popular 3 Road, Muang Thong Thani Pathum Thani
SiamIDC CAT Telecom Tower (4th Flr) Bangkok
TCC Technology Internet Data Center (Amata Nakorn) Amata Service Center, Bangna-Trad Road Chonburi
TCC Technology Internet Data Center (Bangna) TCIF Tower, Bangna-Trad Road Bangkok
TCC Technology Internet Data Center (Empire Tower) Empire Tower, Sathorn Road Bangkok
TOT Internet Data Center (Chaengwattana) TOT headquarter, Chaengwattana Road Bangkok
TOT Internet Data Center (Krung Kasem) TOT Central Office, Krung Kasem Road Bangkok
TOT Internet Data Center (Laem Chabang) TOT Central Office Chonburi
TOT Internet Data Center (Hat Yai) TOT Central Office Songkhla
True Internet Data Center True Tower, Ratchadaphisek Road Bangkok
True Internet Data Center Muang Thong Thani Pathum Thani
Win Internetwork (By Proen Internet)/OTARO Gigabit Data Center CAT Telecom Tower (4th Flr) Bangkok

Internet censorship[edit]

Further information: Internet censorship in Thailand

Thailand is on Reporters Without Borders list of countries under surveillance in 2011.[19] Thailand's Internet Freedom status is rated "Not Free" in the Freedom on the Net 2011 report by Freedom House, which cites substantial political censorship and the arrests of bloggers and other online users.[20]

Estimates put the number of websites blocked at over 110,000 and growing in 2010.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://investvine.com/3g-has-power-to-revolutionise-media-savvy-thailand/
  2. ^ Thailand: Rapid Growth in Broadband Use
  3. ^ CIA World Factbook: Internet Hosts
  4. ^ Maierbrugger, Arno (25 June 2013). "Thais prefer internet over telly, study says". Inside Investor. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  5. ^ NECTEC IIR Current Internet Map
  6. ^ http://internet.nectec.or.th/internetmap/map/internationalmap/inetmap112009_international.png
  7. ^ NECTEC IIR Current Internet Map
  8. ^ http://internet.nectec.or.th/internetmap/map/domesticmap/inetmap112009_domestic.png
  9. ^ ISP List by CAT Telecom
  10. ^ http://www.trueonline.com/en/package.aspx
  11. ^ http://www.trueonline.com/ultrahispeed/th/promotion-and-packages.aspx
  12. ^ http://www.3bb.co.th/product/adsl/select.php
  13. ^ http://www.3bb.co.th/product/product_detail.php?lang=&id=2253
  14. ^ http://www.tot.co.th/index.php?option=com_linkcontent&Itemid=88&categoryid=42&task=detail&detail_id=1068&lang=th
  15. ^ http://www.ksc.net/EN/AboutUs.html
  16. ^ http://www.inet.co.th/eng/about/index.php
  17. ^ http://www.thai-fi.com
  18. ^ http://www.nationmultimedia.com/business/NBTC-committee-approves-3G-licences-30195788.html
  19. ^ Internet Enemies, Reporters Without Borders, Paris, March 2011
  20. ^ "Country Report: Thailand", Freedom on the Net 2011, Freedom House, 18 April 2011
  21. ^ "Thailand's Massive Internet Censorship", Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Asia Sentinel, 22 July 2010