KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — At least 500 new communication towers will be built in 210 mukim throughout the country beginning in the fourth quarter of this year for the provision of broadband 4G services, the Dewan Negara was told today.
Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin said this plan was part of initiatives in the implementation stage to provide wider and better quality coverage through broadband services throughout the country.
He said 280 new towers for the provision of mobile broadband 4G services were in the implementation stage and all were expected to be completed and become operational in stages from the first quarter of 2021.
“Eleven base stations at existing communication towers are being upgraded to provide mobile broadband 4G services,” he said during the oral question-and-answer session.
He was replying to a question from Senator Datuk Donald Peter Mojuntin, who asked about the ministry’s plans to improve broadband services in terms of speed and coverage throughout the country following a spike in internet dependence in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zahidi also said 377,360 existing customers using copper-based services throughout the country would be upgraded to the fibre optic network by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
“The initiative, which was proposed by Telekom Malaysia Berhad, is expected to be completed in stages by 2021.
“A total of 33,112 fixed-line broadband extensions in suburbs are now in the implementation stage and expected to be completed in stages by the end of 2020,” he added.
At the same time, MCMC had been cooperating with the industry and telecommunication services providers to develop a digital infrastructure plan known as the National Digital Network (JENDELA) to enhance services throughout the country with the use of various technologies, he said.
Zahidi said the ministry was increasing 4G coverage from 91.8 per cent to 96.9 per cent, leaving only 3.1 per cent of areas without access to the service.
“However, we see that there are blind spots throughout the country.
“So, we are asking areas without lines and under blind spots to inform MCMC, and we will quickly tackle this problem,” he said in reply to a supplementary question from Mojuntin on the balance of connectivity between the urban and rural areas.