Thailand plans national backhaul company

The Thai government has announced plans to set up a National Backbone Holding Company that would own and operate telecom assets nationwide.

The planned company would seek to reduce redundancies in network equipment and reduce the prices for broadband services, the Bangkok Post reported.

A national backbone holding company could inherit the 150,000km of fiber owned by state-owned operators TOT and CAT. It may also include the 50,000km of fiber owned by private players and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.

Infrastructure from private players could potentially be included as part of the operators' build-operate-transfer concession agreements.

According to the report, the holding company would operate all existing telecom network assets, renting the network to operators. The holding company would have a telecom tower and fiber optic network company within its banner.

The planned new holding company would form part of Thailand's new digital economy strategy, which aims to improve broadband penetration and address broadband blackspots.

But the panel tasked with developing the digital economy policy has acknowledged that legal technicalities could make setting up a telecom holding company a difficult prospect.

State-owned operator CAT recently signed an agreement with private telco DTAC covering evaluating network sharing arrangements, which could go on to form part of the holding company plan.

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