By Suchit Leesa-Nguansuk

The government should build a regional internet gateway by adding more submarine cable lines to accommodate growing usage and become an internet connectivity hub in Asean by 2020, suggests a telecom veteran.

This idea is better than the single international internet gateway (IIG), which has run up against strong public opposition recently, said Prasong Ruangsirikulchai, technical expert and senior director of NTT Communications (Thailand).

“The government should realise it's impossible to do a single gateway. Moreover, it will destroy the digital economy policy,” he said.

Mr Prasong said the IIG initiative would return Thailand's international connectivity back to the last decade, when CAT Telecom was the only provider.

It is hard to consolidate all the international internet links into one. Even the famed Great Firewall of China has three gateways, in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, to connect with other countries, he said.

Mr Prasong said Laos had tried a similar project called the single exit or single gateway for the past five years, but it still could not dissolve its 15 existing international internet connection lines.

Thailand has 10 active international internet gateways out of 17 total, which have over 100 internet links outside the country.

In the past nine years Thailand's international internet traffic grew 81%, sitting at two terabits a second in August, and is expected to reach 38 terabits by 2020.

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