NBTC scraps three.8bn baht telehealth challenge over budget considerations

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) board members have voted in opposition to the development of a three.eight billion baht telehealth venture, citing misalignment with the goals of the Universal Service Obligation (USO) project budget.
The majority of board members argued that the USO project’s focus should be on supporting telecom network installation and expansion to bridge the digital divide, while the telehealth venture primarily invests in IT techniques such as cloud server techniques.
At the board’s third assembly, four members voted to scrap the project, while three, together with NBTC chairman Dr Sarana Boonbaichaiyapruck, supported it. The majority emphasised that they were not blocking useful projects however highlighted the telehealth proposal’s deviation from the USO policy. They additionally expressed issues about potential legal risks for the board if the challenge had been permitted.
Instead, the board members have requested management to consider other initiatives associated to the general public health system, similar to expanding telecom networks in sub-districts to support hospitals in border areas. Treasure had piloted the telehealth venture two years ago through the Covid-19 pandemic, spending over one hundred million baht on a pilot centered on subsidising telecom infrastructure and 5G networks..

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