Thailand’s DES ministry to propose cell broadcast emergency system plan

Photo courtesy of Ministry of Digital Economy and Society

A plan to introduce a cell broadcast emergency warning system will be submitted to the cabinet next month by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES). Major mobile operators are expected to invest approximately 300 million baht (US$8.3 million) each to establish their cell broadcast centres, while the ministry may need around 400 million baht (US$11 million) to set up its cell broadcast entity (CBE).

The minister, Prasert Jantararuangthong, revealed on a Monday that each major mobile phone operator would need to install the cell broadcast system. The process is predicted to take over six months. To establish the entire cell broadcast ecosystem, the ministry will need a cabinet resolution. The DES Ministry expects to source the 400 million baht needed for the CBE from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission fund.

The government is yet to decide whether the DES Ministry or the Interior Ministry’s Disaster Mitigation Centre will act as the state command centre for the cell broadcast system. The new system, aimed at dealing with public disorder and disasters, is expected to be fully operational this year.

The cell broadcast system has two tiers. The first is a location-based service (LBS) already in use by major operators, capable of sending short messages to all mobile phones in specific areas. The second is the new cell broadcast system.

The development of the cell broadcast emergency warning system is one of seven core policies of the ministry this year. Others include a cloud-first policy to attract local and foreign cloud operators to invest in Thailand and increase public services by no less than 220 departments with 75,000 virtual machines (VMs) capacity.

State enterprise National Telecom currently provides around 40,000 VMs to serve state units, with an increase to 100,000 VMs expected. The ministry will also continue to develop artificial intelligence (AI) infrastructure, promote the ‘one district, one IT man’ scheme, create digital manpower, and woo foreign digital manpower via the Global Digital Talent Visa programme, reported Bangkok Post.

The ministry will also continue to combat cybercrime with AI support for the Anti Online Scam Operation Center. Improving Thailand’s global digital competitiveness ranking is another key policy for this year.

Business News

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