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KUCHING, Sept 11: All it would take is the approval from the Sarawak government to make free Wi-Fi services available to students in the B40 group.
Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong said the State government can act through Sarawak Multimedia Sarawak (SMA) and Ministry for Local Government and Housing to ensure every Internet Service Provider (ISP) provides free Wi-Fi through commercial-grade access points installed at their border network gateway.
She said the ISPs could prioritise their network to give preference to their paying customers while dedicating a specific bandwidth for the free Wi-Fi as corporate social responsibility for the B40 community.
“By doing so, the ISPs can maintain servicing their paying customers and also provide our B40 with access to the internet. SMA and the ministry can make it a local requirement before they approve any ISP’s application for telecommunication infrastructure.
“Most will think that this is just wishful thinking, but I am confident with strong political will and pressure from all sectors of the communities, this little can be overcome very quickly,” she said in a statement today.
Yong, who is also Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) member, noted that the current practice is that ISPs in Malaysia have to put away six per cent of their gross turnover of which three per cent is kept for themselves and another three to be kept by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) for the underserved including Sarawak.
She suggested ISPs utilise the three per cent savings to fund community programmes such as providing free connectivity and telecommunication services for the underprivileged.
“ISPs can make use of these funds to fund this programme. MCMC must ensure this fund is not only used for community programmes that only generate more revenue for the companies, but also focused on ensuring the rural folks and B40 group have affordable internet access according to their income.
“It only needs our State government’s agreement to make this come true and all our B40 students will have free internet access for their e-learning and home-based learning experience,” added Yong. — DayakDaily