An Entire Country Will Have Free Wifi By April. You’ll Never Believe Which One.

Thailand’s military government is pushing forward with a plan to offer free wifi throughout the country by April.

The free Wi-Fi service will see more than 130,000 Wi-Fi hotspots installed throughout the country and is part of the government’s pledge to return happiness to the Thai people.

Maj-Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd, deputy spokesman for the Information and Communication Technology Ministry said he expected the installation of the Wi-Fi hotspots would be completed by the official launch of the scheme which is in April.

The timetable is… aggressive. But the government does want to move quickly. And in reality its an expansion and acceleration of a project that’s been underway for years.

The acceleraton comes in the context of a military government that has put off elections until early 2016. Some observers expect further delays, and the government says they’re waiting until certain reforms have been successfully put in place.

Thaksin Shinawatra is viewed by his opponents as having won popularity through public works projects. ‘Free wifi’ then may be a ‘reform’ meant to bolster electoral prospects of those that took power this past May.

Ironically (or perhaps not), Shinawatra made his fortune in telecommunications, and his business dealings form the narrative for the corruption charges underlying the 2006 coup which ousted him from office. Now the military government will bestow huge installation and service contracts on its own favored companies.

But it may also be a boon for budget-minded travelers to this already quite reasonably inexpensive country to visit. As if martial law itself wasn’t enough of a tourist attraction..


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @Gary: Since this post touches on the political situation in Thailand, I hope this question is not too far off topic.

    We had a visit in October from a Bangkok friend and business person (my tailor, actually) who said that in the fall the Bangkok tourist sector was very hard hit from all the spring-time troubles — that the the negative effect on the tourist industry was delayed since many people had already made their summer travel plans before the violent incidents early in the year.

    Was that your experience?

  2. @LarryInNYC my guess – and i have not looked at data – is that there’s some effect but that it probably was mostly in the fall. There were folks not making plans to visit bangkok into the future when this was in the news, but that the effect has more or less subsided. So while there’s likely a drag, I doubt it is colossal.

  3. check again in april, things rarely get done on time in thailand
    ( unless there is substantial tea money changing hands )

  4. I second Poster 6:

    You’re easily the smartest blogger I have added to my Feedly. So why oh why do I have to read the dumb clickbait titles from you? Have you sold your soul to Google analytics?

  5. @Charles (CMK10) I blocked you on my Facebook page because of rude names/insults you were throwing my way. Insult me in the comments section of my blog if you like, but if you’re name calling then you aren’t my Facebook ‘friend’.

  6. Irony references title versus subject matter.

    I’ve always written whatever I’ve been interested in, however I’ve been interested in it. I LOVE that folks have found it worth reading, but I’m not “writing to be read” I’m writing what I think and welcome folks to read. There’s a big difference!

  7. This definitely won’t cover the whole of Thailand. Singapore is ramping up from 5K to 10K hotspots in 2015 and 20K in 2016 and it still won’t be everywhere. Thailand is huge. This will be a great service but if it is anything as slow as Wireless@SG it will hardly be used.

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