Sarawak’s first 700km-submarine cable system, data centre to improve Internet connectivity across State including rural areas

Abang Abdillah (second left) presenting a token of appreciation to Julaihi. Also seen are Smith (left) and Busiai (right).

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Sept 6: Sarawak’s first 700km-submarine cable system via Batam, Indonesia which forms a data superhighway and its Tier IV Data Centre in Santubong, the only one in Malaysia with zero downtime, will play a major role in Sarawak’s digital transformation, especially to improve and provide high speed Internet connectivity across the length and breath of the State including in rural areas. 

Minister of Utility and Telecommunication Datuk Julaihi Narawi emphasised this during the launching of both the Batam Sarawak Internet Cable System (BaSICs) and Santubong Date Centre which have been completed by a Kuching-based telecommunication company, irix, at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here today. 

“For Sarawak to realise its vision to become an advanced, developed and high income State by 2030, the whole of Sarawak must be fully connected. 

“With improved Internet access and latency (delay before a transfer of data begins) issues to be a thing of the past, we believe these two important infrastructures will have a positive impact on Sarawak and Malaysia, and felt throughout the region especially in this part of the world,” he said. 

In line with the Sarawak government’s efforts to move the State forward speedily as laid out in the Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030, Julaihi foresees that these two major infrastructures will take Internet connectivity in Sarawak to the next level which will in turn enable greater digital participation among Sarawakians, businesses, industries and all other economic sectors. 

“I hope it will give more advantages to all the industry players to participate in the digital economy, and this will present a huge opportunity for us which I believe will accelerate our economic development by 2030. 

“I also believe it will attract more international investors to come over to Sarawak and position Sarawak to become a preferred destination for investors,” he said. 

Julaihi also expressed confidence that the BaSICS and Santubong Data Centre will support the development of initiatives under Sarawak Linking Urban Rural and Nation-Sarawak Rural Broadband Network (Saluran-MySRBN) and National Digital Network Plan (Jendela) in the future. 

Meanwhile, PP Telecommunication (PPTEL) chief executive officer Dr Jonathan Smith said Sarawakians can look forward to improved Internet access, enhancing quality of life and potential for such endeavours as e-commerce, hybrid work arrangements and enjoying online entertainment for Sarawakians, and eventually, the rest of Borneo and Kalimantan.

“For this to happen, a strong Internet backbone connecting Sarawak to the wider world needs to be in place.

“This is what we, as irix, are endeavouring to do. Today, we see the next chapter in our story — the launch of our Batam Sarawak Internet Cable System (BaSICS) and our Tier IV Data Centre at Santubong,” he added. 

BaSICS submarine cable is an underwater cable that connects Sarawak to the regional telco hub of Singapore via Batam in Indonesia. It consists of six fibre pairs, each with 80 wavelengths of 100Gbps transmission capacity, with a total system capacity of 48Tbps. 

The Santubong Data Centre is the first Tier IV facility in Malaysia as per certification by Uptime Institute for meeting the stringent requirements in infrastructure functionality and capacity, security, safety and energy usage and most importantly, redundancy. 

It means data will always be safe and accessible and will never be offline, making it a highly reliable source for Internet content, whether Internet banking, social media or just watching movies. 

The two facilities form an initial phase of the Sarawak International Internet Gateway, in line with the aspirations of the Sarawak state government’s Digital Transformation Programme.

Meanwhile, the event also witnessed the signing ceremony between PPTEL and Sarawak Information Systems Sdn Bhd (SAINS), for a client agreement with Smith representing irix and SAINS by its chief operating officer Busiai Seman.

“We look forward to working with further partners in this industry, such as ISPs and mobile carriers, to utilise our infrastructure and are actively working to establish additional partnership and collaborations for further expansion of our networks,” Smith said on the signing ceremony. 

irix chairman Abang Abdillah Izzarim was also present. — DayakDaily