By John Formichella and Naytiwut Jamallsawat
With changes in Thailand’s law and policy on foreign satellites, and political and legal issues involving restrictions on the export of computer chips for artificial intelligence (for more information please see Thailand’s current AI policy), there is increased interest in building and operating data centers in Thailand. Indeed, Thailand’s well-known “Eastern Economic Corridor”, where auto manufacturers have long operated, is now being further developed to stimulate the construction of data centers.
“Data center services” is not explicitly defined under Thailand’s telecommunication law. As per our previous article on Thailand’s telecommunication law , the definition of “telecommunication service” is a service which provides the emission, transmission or reception of signs, signals, writing, digits, images, sounds, codes or intelligence of any nature using Hertzian, wire, optical, electromagnetic, or any other system, or a combination thereof, and shall include the communication satellite service or other business prescribed as telecommunications services by the NBTC but not including sound broadcasting, television broadcasting, and radiocommunication services.
The structure and authority of telecommunications law in Thailand grant the regulator authority to determine “other business prescribed as telecommunications services by the NBTC”. Therefore, the legal authority of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) to determine data centre services as a telecommunication service is granted by the above-referenced statutory language.
With such authority, the NBTC created a Type 1 telecommunication license for data centers and has issued multiple licenses accordingly. “Data center services” require a Type 1 license and point to service providers that provide infrastructure such as electricity, security, fire protection, and connectivity to third-party networks.
The NBTC data center license terms reference “facilitate cloud solution services”, which is often confused as a licensing requirement for cloud service providers. However, the license requirement is providing a data center solution to a cloud service provider. Under certain conditions, a cloud service provider does not need a license from the NBTC. For more information on this, please see the article Cloud Services & Telecommunication Licensing in Thailand where we discuss cloud services and telecommunications licensing.
The above is general information and should not be relied upon as legal advice. For further inquiries, don’t hesitate to get in touch with John Formichella or Naytiwut Jamallsawat at email@example.com/
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