Thailand to build nationwide IP telephone network

The Telephone Organisation of Thailand (TOT) will build the world's first nationwide IP- (Internet protocol-) based telephone network, according to the project's main contractor NEC of Japan.

The IP network will initially connect the Bangkok metropolitan area with 20 other cities in rural areas of Thailand. The services are due to start from January 2000 with 3,240 ports being used to serve 100,000 subscribers. In conjunction with existing public telephone networks, this project will create IP networks enabling TOT to offer customers low-cost, high-quality IP telephone services and enhanced Internet access, NEC said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

In terms of equipment, the project consists of hardware and software for ISPs (Internet service providers), such as gateways for IP telephony, remote access servers, routers, LAN (local area network) switches and various servers. NEC's role will be both as a solution provider and a systems integrator. The initial contract is worth 400 million yen ($US3.9 million), NEC said.

In the second phase of the contract, TOT intends to expand the system to five times its initial size. IP over ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) will be implemented at this second stage. TOT also plans to further expand its services by increasing the number of base stations as the number of IP telephone users increases, according to NEC.

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