A year late, construction of fiber-optic Internet network to begin this month

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More than a year after it was announced, a joint Pattaya-CAT Telecom project to build a fiber-optic Internet network in Pattaya is finally set to break ground.

The city will begin digging up parts of North and Second roads later this month to allow CAT to lay the underground cables. Work will continue throughout the year, eventually reaching Bali Hai Pier and Pratamnak Road by November.

Lanjakorn Patamasingh Na Ayutthaya (standing, left) one of the project coordinators, explains the setup to Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh (standing, right). Lanjakorn Patamasingh Na Ayutthaya (standing, left) one of the project coordinators, explains the setup to Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh (standing, right).

Announced in January 2010, CAT’s “fiber to the premises” project promises to bring Internet speeds of 100-150 megabits per second to Pattaya. The city is being used as a pilot project with CAT eventually planning to spend 6 billion baht to bring super-fast data networks to every province in Thailand.

The project, however, has seen its price tag increase and scale decrease since the first contract with the city was signed early last year. At the time, CAT said the fiber-optic network would cost 500 million baht and cover Third Road, Jomtien Beach, Banglamung and Nongprue once the initial beachfront rollout was complete.

No mention of any higher-speed Internet access for Jomtien or East Pattaya was mentioned at the Feb. 7 press conference with city and telecom officials.

Instead, cable will be laid from North Pattaya Road and Soi Pettrakul, down to the Dolphin Roundabout and along Second Road to Pratamnak Road and the Bali Hai flyover.

City officials said they’ve asked CAT to allow other utility companies to lay power and other cables alongside the fiber-optic at the same time so as to minimize the disruption from the latest round of road construction.