[SatNews] The committee will examine the demand of government agencies to use satellite technology to provide public services, ranging from health care and education to security.
The Information and Communications Technology minister has assigned its space affairs committee to conduct a feasibility study on the ministry's plan to launch a national satellite to provide ICT services to the public, as part of its plan to support the government's promotion of the digital economy.
ICT Minister Pornchai Rujiprapa said yesterday that he had told the committee to finish the study within six months. If the project can get off the ground, the ministry will cooperate with the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency of the Science and Technology Ministry to operate the satellite.
He said the cost of the project was expected to be 8 billion Thai Baht.
The committee will examine the demand of government agencies to use satellite technology to provide public services, ranging from health care and education to security.
He said that initially the satellite would serve seven ministries; Transport, Public Health, Defence, Interior, Agriculture, Education, and ICT. It was found that all government agencies had together spent many billions of baht a year to lease satellite transponders and related ICT infrastructure of both private and state telecom agencies to provide such public services, he added.
Pornchai said the national satellite is part of the government's digital economy, as it will play a key role in the nationwide infrastructure. The existing telecom infrastructure [of CAT Telecom and TOT] covers about 70 per cent of the country. He said ICT infrastructure was a key factor in the government's digital economy plan.
He said the digital economy idea would permeate ICT technology in all sections of society - government, business, education, and society.
"Now we are working with all stakeholders in the government and have invited experts in digital and economic areas to together draft the digital economy road map. A working committee and an action plan for the digital economy should be ready by early next year," Pornchai said.
In a separate issue, Pornchai assigned the ICT permanent secretary to speed up unsettled legal issues of satellite operator Thaicom in connection with the 2010 asset-seizure case of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra. The ICT Ministry has already set up a committee under the Public-Private Joint Venture Act to handle the issue.