CAT Telecom has revealed further details of a THB6 billion (USD177 million) project recently approved by its board of directors to roll out a new broadband access network based on fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology covering major provinces across the country. The Bangkok Post quotes project director Thaneerat Siripachana as saying that the fibre last-mile rollout would take around three years to complete and would reach customers in both urban and rural areas, providing them with broadband internet, multimedia and data transmission services. He expects the project to begin early next year after receiving necessary approvals from the Information & Communications Technology Ministry, the National Economic & Social Development Board and the cabinet. CAT hopes the fibre access network will drive its revenues in the future, as its traditional core international direct dialling (IDD) business is expected to be depleted by increased international telephony competition, especially IP-based services. The state-run telco reported THB23.79 billion in revenue in the first half of this year, down from THB24.65 billion in the same period last year, although its IDD users actually rose by between 7%-8% after CAT introduced a marketing campaign to promote its ‘009’ internet-based service. Good customer response to the promotion pushed international call revenues upwards to meet a target of THB6.5 billion.
CAT is targeting 300,000 high speed fibre internet and multimedia service users in an initial phase of its FTTP launch, whilst it 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.