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Posted 2007-04-01 07:13:59
New Luxury tax on internet usage in Thailand
All internet accounts to be taxed with 970 Baht/month.
Hardware dongle required for internet use
BANGKOK: -- The government has announced heavy investment to upgrade Thailand's international bandwidth, but has introduced an internet tax to help fund investment, and control usage.
The internet tax will be based on bandwidth and would be applied on a graduated scale according to the speed of a users internet connection. The internet luxory tax will be 970 Baht/month for most users.
Foreigners without a work permit and retirees will be required to pay the monthly tax at a higher rate, 1,490 Baht/month.
Sombat Merou-Ruang, director of the Alien Internet Control Division at CAT headquarters in Bangkok says "foreigners that do not have work in Thailand only hang out on internet forums, visit pornographic sites and other website lamock, different from Thai citizens who mostly use the internet for banking, ecommerce, and furthering their education".
In addition to the bandwidth tax, an extra usage tax of 490 Baht will be levied on those using Bittorrents and surfing foreign language internet forums.
New hardware required
The new internet tax will require all internet users in Thailand to install a hardware dongle from CAT. The dongles can be picked up free of charge from any 7-Eleven outlets in Thailand starting today. Without the dongle, users will be disconnected after 6 minutes of use and unable to access the internet from 23.30pm tonight.
A dongle is a small hardware device that connects to a computer
serial port, to administrate the software who controls the user.
When the tax dongle is not present, the software runs in a restricted
mode or refuses to run. Windows XP and Windows Vista operating
systems are likely to hang without the tax dongle installed.
"This is a disaster" says Jarunsek Khlongtoy, owner of the Sanuk Internet Cafe at Khao San Road in Bangkok. "We need to raise our minute fees up by 300% from today, and set aside special computers for those wishing to use internet forums."
Malee Thorlee, manager of the Excite Internet shop on Sukhumvit says that she will now have to limit foreigners using the internet in the shop to one at a time, to keep costs down.
The head of CS-Loxinfo Department of Internet, Dr. Boonlert Chaamaak says this is a blow to internet users in Thailand, who already enjoy fast internet speeds and almost no down time.
DTAC has announced a new range of GPRS packages for foreigners, starting with 100hrs for 2,000 Baht, to combat the new internet tax. Other operators are likely to announce new GPRS charges soon.
Internet satellite to me moved
Shinsat PLC welcomes the tax, and has pledged to use the extra funds allocated to them to improve satellite internet communications. Dr. Rinrada Maimeepompem, head of IPstar Internet Speeds Division, has announced plans to move the IPstar satellite closer to earth from next month, which should improve speeds greatly due to less distance for the signal to travel. The new owners Temasek will also use this opportunity to move the satellite nearer to Singapore, as it is now theirs.
TOT sources have said that executives are overjoyed at the prospect of government investment, adding that now they would be able to buy a new fleet of vans for their technicians, which is important if they wish to improve internet speeds and quality.
"This is typical for the CAT monopoly", says Dr. Pat Pong, administrator at Thaivisa.com, the leading portal for expats in Thailand. "We strongly believe this is just the government wanting to keep track of the internet usage". He continues: "Thaivisa.com will launch its own nationwide ISP shortly, trying to bypass the new internet tax with a new speed concept. We will provide speeds of 300 and 1200/75 baud, which is not taxable", says Dr. Pong to Reuters.
Foreigners applying to the Internet tax need to provide a valid passport with Non-Immigrant Visa, health certificate and 6 colour photos 4x2 cm, plus a verified copy of their house registration (Tabien Baan) or lease agreement.
CAT will close all unregistered internet accounts before midnight today.
-- Thaivisa.com/Agencies 2007-04-01
Posted 2007-04-01 07:34:33
Posted 2007-04-01 07:35:52
I heard there was a discount being negotiated for Thai visa members as it is judged to be providing an expat / tourist information service that benefits the TAT and the administration ?????????
Posted 2007-04-01 07:38:54
can you use your own dongle....as my one is a bit bigger than the one in the pic.
Posted 2007-04-01 07:39:40
ThaiVisa.com has agreed to pay the internet usage tax for all foreigners in Thailand from its vast advertising revenues.
Sombat Merou-Ruang, director of the Alien Internet Control Division at CAT headquarters in Bangkok called this unprecedented move by ThaiVisa.com "another sign that foreigners try to interfere in our affairs".
Posted 2007-04-01 07:41:04
My wife and I have seriously considered moving from the Untied States to Thailand to retire and spend the nestegg that we have saved over the years in the land of smiles. We even bought a nice piece of property there last year.
Lately We've been having second thoughts due to the appreciation of the baht, the terrorists unrest, and the new laws that seem to have an unfriendly "anti foreigner" tilt.
This new internet tax of 940 baht for Thais and 1490 baht for foreigners is another bad sign that the welcome mat for foreigners is being withdrawn. It's bad enough that the government is charging almost as much in tax as it is for the service but to charge foreigners more than Thais because, according to Sombat Merou-Ruang, director of the Alien Internet Control Division at CAT headquarters in Bangkok,
"foreigners that do not have work in Thailand only hang out on internet forums, visit pornographic sites and other website lamock, different from Thai citizens who mostly use the internet for banking, ecommerce, and furthering their education" creates an unfair two tiered system based on cultural stereotyping.
I hope this is just another rumor and not really going to happen.
If Thailand really wants foreigners to retire in Thailand and spend their foreign exchange it's going to have to provide more than a tax to lure them
If , on the other hand, Thailand is fed up with foreigners, retirees, tourists and businessmen, it's applying the right measures to scare them away
Edited by egeefay, 2007-04-01 07:45:44.
Posted 2007-04-01 07:41:09
I was so concerned about this new imposition on farang that I rushed straight down to my local 7-11. I asked the young chap behind the counter if I could check out his dongle. We are meeting tonight for drinks.
Posted 2007-04-01 07:52:10
Y'know, maybe the idea's not so bad, esp if all of the money collected went into infrastructure improvements.. I mean, moving up to a 32+mbps reliable service has gotta happen somehow, and funded in some way.. still though, a 2 tiered pricing system and the thought of buying dongles at 7-11 sent shudders up my spine! Especially when I saw the picture of the RS-232 dongle that would be required - we'd all have to retro-fit our computers with serial ports!
Posted 2007-04-01 08:09:33
Hey must have gone to the same 7/11 store
my Thai wife went down and asked to see if she could see his dongle and was told he already had a full appointment book for tonight, had a smile on his face like a Siamese cat
Thought your come back was very good
Hope all my friends back home have good humor when they recieve my email today to tell them my new Thai wife is 3 1/2 months pregnant, and I returned to be with her 1 month ago
Posted 2007-04-01 08:09:41
Posted 2007-04-01 08:21:07
Cheers for the heart-attack George
After yesterday's fiasco at the airport a luxury tax was all I wanted.
Posted 2007-04-01 08:22:00
Don't use the dongle available at 7/11 if you can go to Bangrak. There is a special dongle available at the CAT datacenter in Bangrak (behind the post office Bangrak). This is from the ICT, and is just for the volunteers helping to clean the web for Thailand. You have to report 3 pornographic sites per day to the ICT (on a special form), which will then be blocked immediately. In return you are tax exempted, you can surf for free. Foreigners are accepted, but no internet cafes. However, if you miss the target, your dongle gets cancelled. There is a limited number of these special dongles though, you better rush.
Posted 2007-04-01 08:23:15
I really don't understand this "New Luxury tax on internet usage in Thailand"
Just received a PM from Administration telling me that all Thaivisa Members who haven't actually been in Thailand since January 1, 2007 will be disconnected as from tonight because of the high costs involved. Just members & posters living in Thailand or very frequent visitors are allowed to stay 'onboard' with Thaivisa.... That's utter nonsense!
I haven't been in LOS since some 5 months ago, but I feel discriminated now !
Why on earth would I be disconnected from Thaivisa?
Anybody else received this message ?
I'm real angry now !
Posted 2007-04-01 08:26:36
Thaivisa disconnected me several hours ago. i am desperate! how do i find out now how much a baht-bus fare is?
Posted 2007-04-01 08:26:58
If they applied a tax on the speed that I actually get versus the speed that I pay for, I'd get a BIG refund every month.
Posted 2007-04-01 08:27:19
what about a wireless dongle..?
a lot of dongles are removed in bkk everyday....are the usb compatible?
Posted 2007-04-01 08:31:58
I went straight to 7/11 and got my dongle. There are actually multi colored dongles depending on your income and it's based on the honor system.
I picked up a gold one with a diamond inlay which will cost me 3000 baht monthly, but I'm more than happy to do it!
Thank You Thailand, I love it here!!
Posted 2007-04-01 08:32:12
This is really too much. It's over the top. If the esteemed and revered Dr. Maimeeprobrem at the Institute thinks this is a clever way to regulate the price of virtual connections in Bangsue, he's respectfully mistaken, in my humble opinion as a foreigner in this paradise.
All the dongles I now have are good enough to handle my present speed and interactive connections.
Posted 2007-04-01 08:32:58
Good news for Mac users.
There is a 75 % discount for all Apple-Macintosh users of new models puchased in Thailand since 31 March 2006. Owners must present the current guarantee certificate, bill of sale, and a certificate from an authorized Mac Center that the machine is virus free. NOTE: This does not apply to the three year extended warranty on machines purchased before 31 March 2006.
Sompoj Duangkamjan, Deputy Under Secretary for Civil Conformity stated in a telephone interview at 06:30 this morning, stated that the reasons for the discount are because Mac users are more environmentally friendly. When asked rto explain 'environmentally friendly' he added 'Because Mac are less open to viruses and pishing and Mac users are more mature members of the community.'
Posted 2007-04-01 08:35:11
That, pretty much sums me up
Posted 2007-04-01 08:35:31
... announced plans to move the IPstar satellite closer to earth from next month, which should improve speeds greatly due to less distance for the signal to travel.
... Temasek will also use this opportunity to move the satellite nearer to Singapore, as it is now theirs.
Posted 2007-04-01 08:36:04
I was told that I need a letter from the ampo office to get this discount?
Posted 2007-04-01 08:36:37
With respect dear Doc., but what the heck are you talkiing about...."how much a Baht-bus fare is"....
This is far more serious than a simple Baht-bus fare; and: I've been following you with your 'Baht' topics and in my eyes you can afford much more than a simple Baht-bus.
So, please join me and let's send an email to Administration to humbly request them to reconsider their decision to disconnect 'valuable' members like yourself.
You well know that Thaivisa is a kind of lifeline to our stressed lifes in this miserable world !
Please send me a PM to join 'forces', before its too late to react and we we'll be disconnected this evening.
Edited by LaoPo, 2007-04-01 08:39:44.
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