Lidam wants better, speedier internet so Katibas villagers running micro-businesses don’t have to hang phones on trees for signal

Lidam (fourth left) in a photo with officers from SMA, SDEC and MCMC after the briefing.

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KUCHING, Aug 27: Digital economy including online marketing is more important than ever to help home based micro-businesses in rural areas reach their far-flung customers in speedy and cost-effective manner “even if mobile phones have to be hung on tree branches” to have access to internet connectivity.

Highlighting this, Katibas assemblyman Lidam Assam thus hopes the various efforts implemented by both State and Federal governments to improve and expand connectivity especially in rural Sarawak will soon resolve mobile black spots and bring better and high-speed internet coverage to the people in his constituency.

“The Song area is rich in food products like dabai, empurau fish and ‘tengadak’ fish that are sold in urban areas.

“I am very happy to see longhouse residents upload photos or videos of empurau fishes they caught from the rivers online and in less than a day, the fish would be booked by people from Kuching city,” he said in a statement by Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) today.

He was met after a briefing by Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC) and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) Sarawak on the development of internet network coverage in Katibas constituency yesterday (Aug 26), which was also attended by SMA technologist (Telecommunication Division) James Bungan and Song District Officer Harry Bruce Edwin.

While Lidam expressed satisfaction with the current digital coverage and telecommunication access available in Katibas constituency, he however emphasised that equipping the area with high-speed internet is crucial to allow rural people take more active part in the digital economy that offers many advantages, especially in helping to improve their livelihoods and increase their income.

“With better and reliable internet coverage in longhouses, the villagers are also excited to explore smart farming using internet of things (IoT) because they are rich in agriculture resources.

“The population in Katibas is about 20,000 with 160 longhouses. There are some longhouses where the internet network is poor or unreachable.

“Therefore, with the briefing I can know better the telecommunication development in Katibas and so that the agencies responsible can resolve the issues as soon as possible and know the expectations of the villagers,” he explained.

Meanwhile, SDEC chief technical officer Hamadlan Hamdam in his briefing said three telecommunication (telco) towers have been completed in Katibas in the first phase, namely at Nanga Lanang Tekalit, Jalan Balak Lanjan, Song and Nanga Bajor.

“The towers in Nanga Lanang Tekalit and Jalan Balak Lanjan are in operation to provide services to users, while the tower in Nanga Bajor is waiting for the installation of telecommunication equipment,” he said.

Also giving a briefing to Lidam was MCMC Sarawak director Adiman Ajem, who informed that 12 telco towers have been completed under the Malaysian Digital Interconnection Plan (Jendala) in Katibas constituency.

“Also under Jendela, we have upgraded 11 microwave transmission stations to 4G and installed 49 satellite broadband and established a Malaysian Family Digital Economy Centre (PEDi),” he added.

In the meantime, TM One Sarawak head Zakinah Tuah said that it is currently working on installing Unifi to provide thorough coverage in Song town. — DayakDaily