25th European Regional Conference of the International Telecommunications Society (ITS), Brussels, Belgium, 22-25 June 2014
The aim of this paper is to analyse the demand and use of Internet access by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Thailand. Given the huge importance of SMEs to a national economy such as Thailand, this paper dives into the data to understand the magnitude of the issue. Official 2010 Thai government statistics state there are 2.82 million SMEs with unregistered SMEs triple this size. This compares to a population figure of 66.79 million and an Internet user community of 36 million users. This study therefore set out to empirically examine by use of a bivariate probit model whether the variables of computer availability, business sector, SME size, organizational form or foreign shareholding has a systematic link to Internet access. After this, once Internet use was determined, to analyse and estimate specific usage. The impact of these factors varies from service to service (i.e. e-mail, searching, retrieving and interacting with governmental agencies or purchasing goods and services online). Implications suggest that SME Internet connectivity and subsidy should be considered by key policy makers while developing and implementing more robust infrastructure and better support which could stimulate the growth of Internet access and use. Along with fixed/land line technologies, wireless broadband technologies such as 3G/4G could be another alternative to solve the lack of fixed infrastructure and provide an opportunity for SME Internet services. This must also be combined with better education and support for the entrepreneurial SME owner/manager.