SKR1M to bring better, faster Internet connectivity to Sarawak

Abang Johari (third left) and others giving their thumbs-up during a visit to the TM booth.

KUCHING, Dec 18: With the official launching of the recently completer submarine fiber optic cable system called the Sistem Kabel Rakyat 1Malaysia (SKR1M), Sarawak is now on track in moving towards the digital economy as envisioned by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

What it needs now is to set up feeder systems that would tap the high speed broadband data connectivity from SKR1M, and that is where the RM1 billion allocated by Abang Johari would be made to good use.

“What is next for us is to set up feeder connectivity. This will enable us to achieve true high speed broadband.

“This will meet our aspiration to transform the Sarawak economy into a digital economy, not only in the agriculture sectors or rural development, but also to abolish the divide between the rural and the urban (areas),” he told reporters after officiating at the SKR1M launch at Pullman Hotel here today.

Abang Johari activates the gimmick for the SKR1M launch while Sulaiman (left) and MCMC chief operating officer Dato’ Mazlan Ismail (right) look on.​

Abang Johari said the state government will continue to work together with Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) — the provider of SKR1M — for future developments and enhancements including the feeder systems at the cable’s landing points in Sarawak with the help of the state government.

“That is why we have that fund (RM1 billion) and we are to work together with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and TM. Meaning, in areas out of TM’s coverage, the state government will come in and help. Meaning there won’t be redundancies as resources are very scarce. We have to manage it properly.

“That is why on some projects TM will come in, and in other projects other telcos will come in, and we have to coordinate this. We do not want them (telcos) to fight over the various projects. At the end of the day, there is no reason for us to waste our resources when we can work together, and the people will benefit,” he said.

Abang Johari said he didn’t want the same mistake as the 1Malaysia laptop programme to happen again, where thousands of laptops were distributed to students and community leaders in the rural areas, but could not be utilised fully simply because there wasn’t any Internet connectivity in rural areas.

Consequently, he added, the people said the government deceived them with empty promises.

“What should’ve been done was, ‘build the roads’ first, then ‘get the cars’. Not the other way around. That was a mistake. For Sarawak I want to build a good ‘road’ first. Then after the ‘road’ is ready, everyone can ‘drive’ whatever ‘cars’ they like on that ‘road’,” Abang Johari metaphorised.

​Abang Johari speaks to reporters after launching SKR1M, while Sulaiman (left) looks on.

The work on SKR1M began in 2015 and was completed in September 2017. Its objective, according to TM chairman Tan Sri Datu Sulaiman Mahbob, was to enhance the existing domestic submarine cable connectivity between the Peninsula, Sarawak and Sabah with room for future upgrades.

He detailed that the SKR1M fiber optic cable spans over 3,800km and has the initial capacity of four terabits per second (Tbps), and is capable to be upgraded to at least 12.8Tbps of design capacity.

“The submarine cable lands at six points — Kuantan, Mersing, Kuching, Bintulu, Miri and Kota Kinabalu,” Sulaiman explained.

He added that with the completion of SKR1M, TM can now further expand its fiber optic broadband Internet under Unifi in Sarawak particularly in the rural areas. — DayakDaily