Thai state-owned operator TOT has been handed sole responsibility for a project to build a national broadband network connecting 30,000 villages, with the aim of extending high speed internet access to the majority of Thailand’s villages that are currently unserved. TelecomAsia reports that the ICT Ministry has changed the original plan to see TOT and sister telco CAT jointly oversee the THB15 billion (USD427.5 million) project, based on TOT’s ability to leverage its existing extensive infrastructure. Construction of the network is expected to be complete by May 2017. The state will use the network to provide free broadband connectivity in public places in all villages, while TOT plans to offer ‘affordable’ packages with speeds of at least 20Mbps. Meanwhile, CAT has been told by the government to focus on further investment in international internet gateway infrastructure to support the state’s policy of promoting Thailand as a digital hub for the ASEAN region.