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Borneo, Sarawak

600 villages in Sarawak to have WiFi by the year-end

IF all goes well, 600 villages in Sarawak will have WiFi by the end of this year.

Yes, you read that right, villages in Sarawak will have WiFi.

We’re not talking about WiFi from some coffee shop in those villages either. We’re talking WiFi sites set up by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

State MCMC deputy director Adiman Ajem said over 200 WiFi sites costing more than RM10 million have already been set up throughout Sarawak so far.

“When we first started setting up WiFi villages in the state, we had set a target of three years to complete the first batch allocation of 600 sites,” he is quoted as saying.

“Once this number is achieved, we will set up a new target to ensure more rural people enjoy wireless service.”

Among the villages with this service is Kampung Jugan in Bau, a district which already has 12 WiFi sites.

“Everybody has access to the service as long as they are within range. By meeting up at the facility centre, this certainly would promote socialising amongst the communities,” added Hamdan Hashim, head of Sarawak zone for Pernec, which is one of the appointed service providers for the MCMC Kampung WiFi initiative.

MCMC aims to erect at least two Community Broadband Centres (CBCs) in every parliamentary constituency soon to bridge the digital gap between urban and rural communities.

There are currently 34 CBCs in rural areas in 27 parliamentary constituencies in Sarawak.

The CBC programme is part of MCMC’s strategy to boost the state’s broadband penetration, which is at 47.8 per cent, compared to the national rate of 62.4 per cent.

Yes, we are still behind but we are definitely catching up fast.

Having connection to the Internet and especially WiFi is so vital for our rural communities.

It has so much potential such as tourism, where homestay operators can showcase their services to global travellers, or village craftspeople can sell their weavings, carvings and beading directly to international buyers.

Farmers can also stay updated with the latest commodity prices and learn of new techniques and advances in the industry or availability of the latest government aid.

It is good to see that the government is serious among ensuring that our rural communities are not disadvantaged by a digital gap.

While others are just very good at talking and criticising, it is good that real work is being done for the betterment of rural communities.

Real transformation and not just passing change.

The Borneo Post’s report:

600 WiFi villages by year-end achievable — MCMC

BAU: The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is confident that it can complete installation of all 600 WiFi (wireless fidelity) villages in the state by the end of this year.

State MCMC deputy director Adiman Ajem said yesterday that more than 200 WiFi sites costing more than RM10 million had been set up throughout the state thus far.

“When we first started setting up WiFi villages in the state, we had set a target of three years to complete the first batch allocation of 600 sites.

“Once this number is achieved, we will set up a new target to ensure more rural people enjoy wireless service,” he told reporters when met at Kampung Jugan near here after inspecting WiFi service at the village.

The visit was initiated by the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) to get feedback of the service from villagers. Also present was Pernec head of Sarawak zone Hamdan Hashim. Pernec is one of the appointed service provider for the MCMC Kampung WiFi initiative.

Adiman added that Bau currently has about 12 WiFi sites.

On the costs, he said the amount for different sites differs. Some of the key factors include terrain and strength of signal. For instance, certain areas require the installation of satellite dishes, while some only need ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) service.

Hamdan said he believed that the WiFi village initiative could strengthen ties between the people of different villages as online users would gather at the ‘hotspot’ to enjoy the facility.

“Everybody have access to the service as long as they are within range. By meeting up at the facility centre, this certainly would promote socialising amongst the communities.”

MCMC has targeted to erect at least two Community Broadband Centre (CBC) in every parliamentary constituency in the near future to bridge the digital gap among the rural communities. There are currently 34 CBCs in the rural areas in 27 parliamentary constituencies in the state.

The CBC programme is part of MCMC’s strategy to boost the state’s broadband penetration, which is at 47.8 per cent, compared to the national rate of 62.4 per cent.

Sarawak is ranked among the bottom four states in the national broadband penetration rate together with Sabah, Kelantan and Pahang.

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