KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 — Work permits for the construction of over 600 new telecommunication towers in Sarawak totalling more than RM1 billion will be issued this month, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa.
He said all three contractors had been identified through open tender and they will begin construction work in the near future.
According to him, Sarawak has been given the highest priority level under Phase One of the National Digital Network (JENDELA).
“Sarawak has become a high-priority state because currently, its coverage in terms of connectivity is about 80 per cent. We must standardise it with other places to achieve over 90 per cent (Internet coverage).
“We hope that with the completion of these towers, then more mobile phone users still using the 2G and 3G facilities will switch to the 4G network,” he said in the “Bersama Annuar” programme on Bernama’s Twitter Spaces which discussed the topic of ‘Capaian Internet – Jangan Ada Yang Terpinggir’ (Internet Access – Let No One Be Left Behind) tonight.
Annuar said the 4G facility would make it easier for the community to use the Internet comprehensively as more activities could be done, including digital economy programmes, e-commerce and others.
“I can assure you that for populated areas Sarawak, although remote, we will try to improve Internet facilities, especially for the convenience of our school children.
“If possible, we do not want to hear anymore (of students and pupils) having to sit in the boats (to get Internet access)… We know in Sarawak, rivers are dangerous (as there are wild animals like crocodiles) for school children. We also hope they do not have to go far from their houses (to get Internet access) because it is not safe for them, he said.
Meanwhile, Annuar said that in line with the government’s efforts to achieve 97 per cent 4G Internet access nationwide, the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM) was in the process of issuing tenders for the construction of over 1,161 new broadband towers.
He also urged the people to channel any information regarding Internet access problems in their areas through the JENDELA Map on the JENDELA portal.
Annuar explained that consumer feedback and complaints were important to help the government continuously improve the quality of broadband services in areas that are facing the problem.
“To improve the quality of Internet services, we need feedback crowdsourcing. In rural and urban areas, there are also blind spot areas where although there is coverage, the telecommunication companies have not upgraded the coverage,” he said.
Annuar also hoped that telecommunication companies would not ignore the need for Internet access in sparsely populated areas and, instead, to use their profits to upgrade services in these localities.
Meanwhile, Annuar also wished Happy Post Day to all Pos Malaysia employees in conjunction with the World Post Day celebration tomorrow.