History of Internet in Thailand

A Brief History of Internet in thailand

Some Thai students and visitors to the United States of America had been given Internet addresses but when they return to Thailand, not many continued to use their addresses because of the high cost of international telephone connection. In 1987, the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Thailand entered into an agreement with the Department of Computer Science at the University of Melbourne in Australia to operate Internet email service on a regular basis. The Australian node would call AIT three times a day to send and collect mail.

AIT charged 200 baht (about US $8) per month for upto 15,000 characters transferred (counting both in and out messages combined) plus one baht for every additional 50 characters. One of the problems was the inability to control incoming mail, especially the lengthy Calls for Papers, list of reference, etc. which was not asked for, and had to be paid for because they had automatically entered the mailbox. This problem was later solved when the rate was changed to a fix amount per month rather than varying with the number of characters. Another problem was that during the connection to Australia, usually three times a day at 02:30, 15:30 and 19:30, users were requested not to call the only dial-in number with the only modem available at that time.

In 1988, Prince of Songkhla University in the southern part of Thailand established an Internet node connected to Melbourne University a few times a day. Two dial-in telephone numbers were made available from 09:00 in the morning till 19:00 in the evening.

In 1991, Digital Equipment (Thailand) Ltd. acquired an Internet address for internal and research-related usage. No dial-in number was made available and user had to use the machine at the company.

A major breakthrough occurred in 1991 when Chulanlogkorn University became Internet gateway in Thailand. After sufficient testing, full operation was started in July 1992 with a 9600 baud leased line to Virginia, U.S.A. and later upgrades to 64 K line. The fees for the leased line with 25% educational discount from the Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT) were about 5.2 million baht per year (about US$ 468,000). Initially only one telephone line was made available but by 1993 twenty lines were accessible. The all day, all night and full Internet service at Chulalongkorn University were obviously much better than the email-only at AIT. Instead of waiting a day or so for the message to be routed through Australia, one could communicates as many times a day as necessary and desirable. One could use the "talk" command to enter into interactive communication. When calls for papers were received from the network, one could ask for and obtain clarification right way.

In January 1992, the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC) established the NECTEC E-mail Work Group (NWG). In February 1992, NWG established a network named ThaiSarn (Thai Social/scientific, Academic and Research Network) with a machine donated by IBM, two dial-in telephone lines available 24 hours a day for NWG connections. UUCP (UNIX-UNIX Copy) was made hourly with Thammasat University and Prince of Songkhla University, and international connection with Australia through AIT three times a day. The service was later upgraded to included six dial-in telephone lines and 24 hours per day international connection through Chulalongkorn University. Then in September 1993, NECTEC became the second gateway from Thailand and it was connected to Virginia, U.S.A. by a 64 K leased line.

In January 1992, Thammasat University (TU) Information Processing Institute for Education and Development (IPIED) also registered as an Internet node. One dial-in telephone number was made available 24 hours a day.

The Faculty of Engineering at King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkarbang started experimenting with Internet in mid 1992 connected to at Thammasat. At the beginning, only about 40 users were approved. Later the Computer Research and Service Center which serves all the faculties established a central node for Ladkrabang. By October 1993, about 500 Internet addresses had been given.

Digital Equipment (Thailand) joined ThaiSarn in January 1992 but was later disconnected because commercial organization was not allowed to use educational Internet in Thailand. Prince of Songkla University and AIT joined ThaiSarn in 1992 but AIT later installed a direct leased line to Chulalongkorn University.


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Thailand Internet Association, Srisakdi Charmonman Institute, Siam Technology College.
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