All telecom fibre optic cabling must be laid underground

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Bangkok streets with overhead telecom fibre optic, and other ugly black fire-hose sized utility cable lines snaked between power poles will be slowly out of sight after the telecom regulator met telecom operators and the electricity supplier yesterday in attempt to get rid of this scenes.

The meeting was called by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) and was participated by the  Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) and state and private telecom operators

The action of the NBTC came after the MEA has determined not to  allow additional telecom cables to be carried on its power poles.

They discussed  the issue of telecom operators snaked their  fibre optic cables and copper wires between power poles alongside  power cables between power poles, and the MEA’s clear direction that no further ugly cabling will be allowed as telecom operators are planning expansion to cope with more bandwidths and digital telecom services.

Currently the MEA is  relocating some of  its overhead  power cables in Bangkok underground.

According to the meeting, the NBTC will either have the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration or the state-owned telecom companies TOT Plc and CAT Telecom  invest in the underground telecom cables.

Private companies will then be able to rent the cables, which will be put at a depth of 60 centimetres,  while power  cables will laid deeper at two metres below ground level.

NBTC officials, however, indicated that regulations of relevant agencies will need to be amended to facilitate the underground cabling, and at least 10 billion baht of budget is expected to be required to put the telecom cables underground.

NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said failure  to quickly put the cables underground would  have direct consequences upon the ‘digital economy’ strategy being pursued by the government, as telecom businesses are currently unable to expand their networks due to the limited number of cables available.