THAILAND: Broadband users set to overtake dial-up
More Thais have Internet at home
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
By Sasiwimon Boonruang
Broadband Internet use is set to overtake dial-up access this year, with the number of users expected to account for 60 percent of connections, according to the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (Nectec).
Data from its recent online survey suggested that ADSL-based broadband Internet was used by 43 percent of the Net population last year.
The survey was conducted between September and November 2005, with 21,880 users responding, 45.6 percent of whom were male and 54.4 percent female. The largest group of users was aged between 20 and 29 and made up 51.2 percent of the total, while the other two main categories were those under 20 and people over 30.
Nectec director Dr Thaweesak Koanantakool said that according to the survey, most users (66 percent) access the Internet from home, while 40 percent use the Net in the workplace, 29 percent at an educational facility and 25 percent at an Internet cafe. Users could select more than one option.
It is the first time in the survey's seven-year history that home Internet use has dominated.
In line with the growth in broadband, the percentage of users on dial-up connections dropped from 39 percent in 2004 to just 30 percent last year.
The most common activity online is email (24 percent), followed by information searching at 22 percent, while games and chat were used by 13 percent of respondents.
The top five Internet problems cited were virus attacks, communication speed, junk mail, pornography, and impolite/inappropriate content.
According to the respondents, measures to be introduced should address network security, Internet accessibility, data protection and privacy, price and service.
E-commerce has been done by most users, with 69 percent indicating they had purchased something line. The most common were service reservations (20 percent) and buying movies (19 percent) and software (16 percent).
More males had made online purchases than females, with reasons for not doing so including that they don't trust online sellers, can't see the products, don't want to reveal credit card numbers or find the process complicated.
Of the respondents not using broadband, most do not do so because of the extra cost, while some say it is necessary or that they don't know how to get the service.
Those connected via broadband typically spent between 500 to 1,000 baht a month for service. ADSL/xDSL accounted for 87.6 percent of connections, while cable modem had 4.6 percent and ISDN 4.4 percent.
When online, broadband users said they take advantage of music services, e-learning, TV, Internet phone and tele-conferencing. The top three TV categories were news, entertainment, and sport.
Dr Thaweesak noted that the results of the study would be of use in Internet policy and planning.
For example, the Electronic Transaction Commission (ETC) should now try to build confidence among consumers for online shopping by introducing trusted web sites.
Nectec, meanwhile, has already studied various information security standards that will be addressed in a Royal Decree on e-Payment Service Providers. The Electronic Transaction Security Standard ISO 17799 has already been drafted.
Dr Thaweesak suggested that the ETC should enforce this standard for companies engaged in e-commerce or those listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.
Despite the survey, there is still debate on the total number of Internet users in Thailand. The National Office of Statistics said the number of users was around seven million.
Dr Piya Tanthawichian, R&D director for government IT services, said it was difficult to get an exact number because there is no database with this information available.
However, he said based on data from truehit.net, there were around 3.5 million IP users during a one month period last year.
Date Posted: 3/15/2006