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AIS, Gulf Energy partner for solar-powered telecom infra in remote Thailand

The Highland Research and Development Institute (Public Organisation) will be assisting the partnership in coordination with local authorities and residents, as well as help with legal issues and necessary information for the companies.

The “Green Energy Green Network for THAIs” project aims to deliver solar-generated electricity to communities this year, as well as install solar-powered base stations to create digital network systems in five remote highlands, the companies said. They intend to open another 30 facilities in areas with no electricity or mobile networks over the next five years.

Currently, two pilot villages, Ban Dok Mai Sod and Moko Poke, in Tak province, Thailand’s northwest region, have successfully installed electricity and telecommunications infrastructure.

The remaining three new locations for this year’s project are: Doi Moko Poke (Tak province), Ban Mae To La (Mae Hong Son province), and Ban Phi Pan Nuea (Chiang Mai province).

During their joint press conference, executives of the two companies said that the goal of the collaboration would be to continuously expand the project into other remote areas lacking essential electricity and telecommunications infrastructure.

He further explained that collaborating with Gulf and HRDI strengthened AIS’s commitment to pursue sustainable business practices in all areas, including the creation of digital networks to power community economies.

Noting that their collaboration is breaking down barriers to expand AIS’ network coverage, ensuring digital access for all Thais, he believes the move will achieve all parties’ goals of reducing inequality, improving quality of life, and fostering long-term economic growth in these underprivileged communities across the country.

AIS and its partners will continuously monitor changes in each community using Social Impact Assessment to assess the project’s benefits in reducing social inequality. This ensures that the development is effective and truly sustainable, while also taking into account the community’s context and wisdom, he explained.

According to the AIS CEO, the installation will cost around 3-5 million baht, excluding mobile network costs. The company and Gulf will cover all expenses. In terms of maintenance, he cited AIS Cognitive Tech-Co, which incorporates advanced technology such as artificial intelligence into the company’s system, allowing it to monitor and solve problems remotely, saving money and lowering the risk of failure.

Gulf chief operating officer Theerathiphisa Tawichpasoot said the inspiration behind this collaboration was to bring clean energy and connectivity to underserved communities. The company first launched a pilot project that installed solar panels in three remote areas: Baan Huai Nam Sai (Phitsanulok province), Thung Nang Dam Island (Phang Nga province), and Baan Dokmai Sod (Tak province), she said.

Engineers from its subsidiary, Gulf1, assisted in the installation of the systems and trained residents on how to use and maintain them, promoting long-term sustainability, she added.

However, realising that simply having access to electricity would not improve the quality of life for villagers, Gulf decided to collaborate with AIS to broaden the scope of the project.

HDRI chairman Chavalit Chookajorn pointed out that the Green Energy Green Network for THAIs project is a significant step towards providing highland residents with access to critical services such as solar power and communication.

Citing the fact that there were over 2,000 remote highland communities with no basic infrastructure, he predicted that this project would open up new opportunities for collaboration in healthcare, education, vocational skill development, and even marketing, resulting in an improved quality of life for these communities.

“It benefits the community and the economy while promoting sustainable environmental conservation and restoration,” he said, adding that it was part of the HDRI’s mission to help highland communities gain access to basic infrastructure services through collaboration with various government and private organisations.

As one of the two pilot locations, Chanchai Sappraman, village headman of Moko Poke community in Mae Usu subdistrict, Tha Song Yang district, Tak province, expressed gratitude to AIS, Gulf, and HDRI for establishing the infrastructure in his village.

He said that having electricity and a network allows children to access useful resources to improve their education, while other villagers, particularly the elderly, can access basic public healthcare. Furthermore, the infrastructure enables them to connect with society, break down barriers, and provide alternative income streams.

AIS CEO Somchai was confident that the project would serve as a valuable model for Thai businesses. It shows how organisations’ capabilities can be used to address social issues, reduce inequality, and improve access to new knowledge and basic infrastructure services. Nation Thailand

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