WELL Sarawakians can look forward to better mobile phone and Internet coverage this year as the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will build 114 communications towers this year.
The towers will not just be for the urban areas, but will also be built in rural areas such as Julau – which will be getting 10 of the towers.
Deputy Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum previously said that the towers would be equipped with more sophisticated facilities including 3G network capabilities.
Now this is so vital because it is only fair that all Sarawakians – whether in the cities, towns, market towns or even longhouses and kampungs – deserve good connectivity.
We all know that the State’s vastness and topography makes the construction of the towers very difficult, so it is good to know that the government is willing to invest in them.
A mobile phone is no longer a luxury but essential not only to keep in touch but also for work and business.
Having access to the Internet not only opens up one’s world, but also gives rural folk the opportunity to market their goods and services.
Part of the plan to raise the standard of living for rural folk is the introduction of homestay programmes and other forms of tourism.
With good Internet connectivity and some IT guidance, homestay operators in rural areas could reach out to tourists globally.
Handicraft makers such as the master weavers of pua kumbu could sell their wares online.
Farmers could check prices in real time so they do not get cheated by middle men.
While it is true that some rural folk may be illiterate, their children and grandchildren should not be.
With technology opening up new and better prospects for rural dwellers, the younger people would have less reason to leave their homes.
This is a real positive development for long-term transformation not just passing change.
The report from Bernama:
MCMC to build 114 communication towers in Sarawak
PAKAN, Jan 13 (Bernama) — Malaysia Communications and MultiMedia Commission (MCMC) will build 114 communication towers statewide this year, said Deputy Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Joseph Salang today.
This would include 10 towers within the Julau parliamentary constituency, he added.
Speaking before the presentation of 200 1Malaysia netbooks to community leaders of the Pakan District at Rh. Akun Engkarong in Supi Atas here, he said the towers would be 3G enabled.
The 10 towers allocated for his Julau constituency would allow about half of its inhabitants to enjoy cellular and internet coverage soon, he explained.
He also said the government would consider creating more WiFi villages and upgrading current broadband services in the constituency.
On another note, Salang said it was sad that some quarters still questioned the government’s decision to distribute netbooks to rural areas with no internet connectivity or power supply.
“If we wait until such places are connected, it will defeat the government’s continous effort to narrow the digital divide.
“The rural folks can still use their netbooks for other purposes like records and account keeping or they can access the internet when they visit nearby towns or community broadband centres,” he said.
He also reminded the longhouse chiefs that the netbooks were not for their exclusive use, saying they were merely guardians of what belonged to the entire longhouse.