92 5G-ready stations operational in S’wak by year-end
Posted on : 30 Nov 2022  Source of News:

Julaihi (third right) in a light moment at the DUN foyer after delivering his winding-up speech. Flanking him are his deputy ministers Datuk Liwan Lagang (fourth right) and Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi.

KUCHING (Nov 30): A total of 92 5G-ready connectivity stations will be operational by the end of this year, the State Legislative Assembly was told yesterday.

Utility and Telecommunication Minister Datuk Julaihi Narawi also informed that over 500 5G connectivity stations located in Kuching, Miri, Bintulu and Sibu will be operational in stages by the end of 2023.

“The implementation of 5G connectivity in Sarawak has begun in the middle of this year with a total investment of RM1 billion for a 10-year period,” said Julaihi in his ministerial winding-up speech.

The minister explained the implementation of 5G connectivity was part of Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg’s vision to embark on digital economy in the state through cooperation with the federal government via Digital Nasional Berhad.

In the effort to further enhance connectivity in the state, Julaihi said 835 new 4G towers will be constructed under the National Digital Network (Jendela) initiative, with 105 towers already operational and the remaining in operation by the end of 2023.

“A total of 3,515 transmission stations are also targeted to be upgraded from 3G to 4G connectivity to improve level of service, and 3,259 stations have been upgraded so far. The remaining stations will be upgraded in stages by the second quarter of next year.”

Julaihi also said 121,736 residential and business buildings would be installed with fibre optic connection under the Jendela initiative and broadband wireless access would be expanded to 523 locations in rural areas.

Updating on the status regarding the construction of 7,000 telecommunication towers and structures in the state, Julaihi said 50.6 per cent or 3,539 towers have been constructed till date.

The state government has also launched two initiatives, namely Sarawak Multimedia Authority Rural Telecommunication (SMART) and Sarawak Rural Broadband Network (MySRBN) to further improve connectivity infrastructure.

Under the SMART initiative, Julaihi said 600 telecommunication towers will be constructed in two phases. Under the first phase, about 124 towers are expected to be operational by the end of this year and the remaining in the second quarter of next year.

As for Phase two, the minister said the state government was still in the midst of purchasing the sites to construct the 300 towers and they are expected to be operational by the end of next year.

Among the challenges in carrying out SMART initiative are difficulties in obtaining spectrum assigned to service providers or telecommunication companies, global supply chain constraints, and the telecommunication companies’ reluctance to provide their services in rural areas.

As a result, he said the government was now constructing towers fully installed with the necessary equipment to hasten the progress and the operational readiness of the targeted number of towers to be constructed.

Touching on the MySRBN initiative for rural areas, Julaihi said 159 out of the 194 sites are now operational and 15,636 subscribers had been recorded, covering residential homes, longhouses, clinics, schools and halls.

The state government is targeting to connect 45,000 residential homes in the rural areas under the MySRBN internet connectivity initiative by the end of next year, he added.

Besides, Julaihi told the august House that more than 10 local companies are actively involved in the construction of telecommunication structures and fibre optics installation across the state and there was no issue of monopoly by a certain company.

Julaihi hoped the new unity government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will pay serious attention to the demands in allowing the state government to manage spectrum band allocation to telecommunication companies to expedite internet coverage across the state.

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