‘Rural Sarawak to have better network coverage once 300 telco towers are operational this year’

Zaidi (centre) speaking to media members during the Media Briefing on Digital Economy 2019 in Kuching this afternoon (March 28, 2019).

By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, March 28: Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) hopes to get 300 telecommunication (telco) towers up and running this year.

Its general manager, Dr Zaidi Razak, said once the 300 telco towers are functional, cellular network coverage in the state would increase up to 5 per cent, covering most of the rural areas.

He said SMA and Sacofa had been working together with various agencies and telco service providers on this initiative to ensure that Sarawak has wide coverage to get its people ready for the Digital Economy initiative.

“We are targeting this year for 300 towers to be erected, up and running. We are looking at about 5 per cent coverage while having to consider the sporadic population throughout Sarawak,” said Zaidi when updating reporters on telco tower erection works in the state.

He added that another 300 towers would be erected next year.

The initiative to erect 600 towers throughout the state to improve Internet connectivity was initiated by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg last year as part of the state’s Digital Economy agenda. The allocation is RM1 billion.

Meanwhile, Zaidi said the main challenge in erecting these telco towers was to design the right network that would give optimal coverage to the most number of people and settlements throughout the state.

“We are working day and night to see the procedures invite all telco service providers to be in our team.

“We are designing our network for all these small communities (throughout the state) to get coverage. That’s why the state government allocated some amount of money to speed up connectivity even though it is supposed to be the responsibility of the federal’s Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.

“But it is not about politics. So we, under the instruction for the Chief Minister, must execute this task and assist the federal government for the benefit of the rural people,” he said. — DayakDaily