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..