The board of state-run Thai operator CAT Telecom has approved a THB6 billion (USD177 million) plan to roll out a new broadband access network based on fibre-to-the-home and fibre-to-the-building (FTTx) technology covering major provinces, reports The Nation newspaper. The project still requires approval from the National Economic & Social Development Board and a final endorsement from the Cabinet, but rollout should begin next year, said a CAT source, targeting 300,000 high speed internet and multimedia service users in an initial phase. CAT plans to collaborate with the Metropolitan Electricity Authority and the Provincial Electricity Authority to share existing infrastructure resources including electricity poles to help deliver its direct access services to customers’ premises.
Separately, CAT’s board approved a plan to hire a financial adviser to evaluate the ‘Hutch’ CDMA2000 mobile network in Bangkok and central provinces operated by Hutchison CAT Wireless Multimedia, a joint venture with Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd (HTIL). The network is owned by BFKT, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based HTIL, which has indicated it will sell out to CAT, which aims to integrate the Hutch service with its wholly owned ‘CAT CDMA’ CDMA2000 network which covers all other areas of Thailand.