Saturday, December 9

Wider coverage soon: Rais


TAWAU: Cellular telephone coverage in Sabah will increase to 85 per cent later this year and this will be effected by the installation of 212 telecommunication towers, the Minister of Information Communication and Culture, Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, said yesterday.

At present, cellular telephone coverage in Sabah is at 75 per cent.

Dr Rais said the construction of 60 of the new towers would begin next month. “The government has allocated RM300 million to increase telecommunication coverage in the state to ensure that consumers in rural areas will be able to get better cellular telephone coverage,” he told reporters after launching the Juara Rakyat Programme with the theme ‘Motivating Education’ at Kampung Batu Payung here.

Dr Rais also referred to the current data collection on the country’s broadband penetration, which was based on the number of households.

He felt that data collection on the matter should be expanded to include ownership of mobile phones, currently standing at 28 million units in the country, as it was more reflective of the broadband penetration (as most of the mobile phones could be used for broadband services).

He asked those involved in compiling the data to take into account of this fact.

Malaysia’s broadband penetration target is 50 per cent of households by the end of 2010. — Bernama

Dr Rais also asked telecommunication companies (telcos)such as Telekom Malaysia to improve their quality of services, increase the speed and lower the cost of broadband services, and promote the use of Internet services in rural areas.

He said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) would be monitoring local telcos on those three aspects as a matter of priority in its operations. — Bernama