Top Stories : WSIS Forum 2017  Speech for the Moderated High-Level Policy Session By H.E. Mr. Pansak Siriruchatapong Under the theme Session 2 “Inclusiveness – access to information and knowledge for all” Tuesday 13 June 2017, 14.30 – 15.20 hrs., Room C, ITU News

Top Stories : WSIS Forum 2017 Speech for the Moderated High-Level Policy Session By H.E. Mr. Pansak Siriruchatapong Under the theme Session 2 “Inclusiveness – access to information and knowledge for all” Tuesday 13 June 2017, 14.30 – 15.20 hrs., Room C, ITU

WSIS Forum 2017

Speech for the Moderated High-Level Policy Session

By

H.E. Mr. Pansak Siriruchatapong

Under the theme

Session 2 “Inclusiveness – access to information and knowledge for all”

Tuesday 13 June 2017, 14.30 – 15.20 hrs., Room C, ITU

 

Your Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Good Afternoon.

On behalf of the Ministry of Digital Economy of Thailand, it is a great honor for me to be here taking part in the global policy platform and a great pleasure to have this opportunity to speak at the WSIS Forum 2017 under the theme of “inclusiveness – access to information and knowledge for all”.  The theme comes at a perfect time for Thailand. As the current government’s Thailand 4.0 policy is aimed at transforming Thailand from a production-based economy relying on producing commodities into an innovation-driven, value-based, service-based economy, ultimately leading to economic prosperity, social stability, and long-term sustainability. In other words, while we will be aggressively pursuing economic growth utilizing technology and innovation, we are also stressing the importance of achieving sustainability, by being friendly to the environment, as well as guaranteeing social inclusion through equitable distribution of wealth and opportunity.   

Then the next question people will probably want to ask is “how do we translate the Thailand 4.0 policy into reality?” From the digital development standpoint, we argue that digital technology is one of the easiest and most accessible enablers that can help us realize such developmental goal.  It has also become very clear to us that Thailand must proceed with the process of digitalizing the country without leaving any group of people behind. Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, today I would like to share with you two points: what Thailand has been doing recently to ensure inclusiveness of access to broadband infrastructure and how we are trying to ensure that people can maximize the benefits of such infrastructure.

On the first point – ensuring inclusiveness of access to broadband infrastructure -- early this year we launched the village broadband initiative to ensure that everyone in Thailand can connect to broadband services. This will be done by deploying fiber broadband to all villages in the country (74,965 of them in 2017) -- with one free Wi-Fi hotspot for each village -- to ensure that everyone in Thailand can connect to broadband services. While about one-third of villages have already got the existing infrastructure, by the end of this year we will cover 24,700 more villages and will complete the rest by the end of next year. As for the most remote parts of the country that the deployment of optical fiber is not viable or practical, we opt for the use of satellite and 3G/ 4G mobile connection to ensure broadband inclusiveness.

On the second point -- maximizing the benefits of broadband infrastructure – we understand that we must tackle the empowerment issue before the Thai people can fully benefit from having broadband connection. Therefore, we are currently launching the digital community initiative that will be be built on top of the village broadband infrastructure, aiming to help local villagers all over the country to generate more income and better the quality of life. This will be done in three themes: digital community e-commerce, digital health, and digital local government.

·        For the first theme, we are focusing on e-commerce, helping farmers, craftspeople, villagers, and little village shops, all over the country to sell their products and services online so that they can generate additional income and even innovate new products and services.  In order to achieve this, our steps range from providing marketplaces that welcome local community products and services,  to installing a highly trusted payment system, to putting in place a seamless, country-wide logistics system that will help make e-commerce to-and-from the most remote parts of the country possible, to empowering sellers from all over the country so that they have basic digital literacy skills, e-commerce skills, and even knowledge of how to improve their products and services both in quality and quantity.

·        For the second theme, we are implementing a digital health program. In the past, this used to be difficult but now that we have the basic infrastructure in place, telemedicine has become much more doable.  Now we are linking hospitals, country-wide, with high-speed broadband and a conference system so doctors from smallest hospitals can consult with medical specialists from large medical facilities. We are building a digital chat platform and mobile application to enable about 1 million village health volunteers to talk to medical personnel in real time.  Also, we are working to build health literacy using digital media to prepare the Thai population for aging society.

·        On the third theme, we are focusing on digital local government. For the past decade or so, Thailand has been developing e-Government focusing on central administration. But this year the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society will work with local government players to ensure that now that we have broadband everywhere people can actually access central government services as well as local government services via online channels. Also, to increase transparency and civic participation we are turning the open data policy into implementation at the local government level as well.

 

 

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

For all my professional life, I have been working at varying capacities in the field of science and technology development and I truly feel that by deploying country-wide broadband infrastructure and empowering local people through e-commerce, digital health, and digital local government, we are working on something that will produce profound and long-lasting impacts on people and society as a whole – ones that can speed up the pace of development for Thailand in a most inclusive manner. I look forward to coming back to this forum next year to share with you our success stories and learned lessons from our endeavor. 

Thank you.