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Thailand clean cybercafe project set for a rethink

2005-08-22 08:19:44
Cybercafe News
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Thailand Post may scrap a pilot project to open four 'clean' Internet cafes following losses at the site at its Khao San Road post office.

Branded as TNet and run by TOT Plc, the Internet cafes were positioned as suitable for young people as they blocked access to pornographic web sites and other inappropriate content. The idea was initiated by Dr Surapong Suebwonglee, the former Information and Communications Technology minister.

As the Khao San outlet was attracting few customers, Thailand Post is reconsidering plans for four more outlets, said Wutthipong Moreechart, senior vice president of Thailand Post.

The charges at TNet are relatively high _ at 65 baht an hour _ but the real deterrent appeared to be Net censorship in an area full of young foreign tourists.

''They are going to other Internet cafes run by small operators which have no policy on blocking web sites and charge lower access fees,'' he said.

Thailand Post has another clean Internet cafe at Hua Mark that is also losing money. It had planned four more outlets at Ngam Wong Wan Road, Sanam Pao, Patpong and Tha Phra.

''We have to consider the appropriate business pattern for these outlets to fit each location,'' Mr Wuthipong said.

Thailand Post has forecast 12 billion baht in revenue this year from postal and delivery services, booking of Otop goods and movie tickets, and outsourcing for government agencies.

In the first half of the year, it posted revenue of 6.3 billion baht.

Dr Surapong initiated the clean Internet concept following widespread complaints by parents that their children were spending a lot of time surfing uncontrolled sites.

TOT Plc responded with a pilot project to open TNet cafes in Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima with an initial investment of 30 million baht.

The first cafe, opened in July last year at TOT's Phloen Chit Road office, is making money because it is located in a prime business district. Another cafe opened at The Mall Korat last September.
Source: The Bangkok Post

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