LANGKAWI: The government’s efforts to expand broadband coverage has produced very positive results with the penetration rare standing at 67.1 per cent currently, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Prime Minister said the development of a nation and telecommunications facilities were correlated, and that the broadband penetration rate in the country had increased tremendously.
“In 2009, the rate was only 31.7 per cent and the latest figure this year is 67.1 per cent, with just only 7.9 per cent more to reach the 75 per cent target in 2015.
“The relationship between development and telecommunications is like an engine and machinery. Like a machine, development will take us to a destination while the engine is the technology that will spearhead national development.
“If the engine is high-powered, then we will get to the destination faster. This link is not hallucination,” he said when launching the Langkawi Communications Empowerment Initiative and 1Malaysia Broadband Carnival at Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre here yesterday.
He said many studies and reports including those published by international technological associations reported that investments to develop infrastructure resulted in increased productivity and boosted development.
“Good telecommunications infrastructure can spur transformation, increase the capabilities of the people, generate innovation, facilitate management and expand networking.
“An increase in the broadband penetration rate by 10 per cent can increase efficiency by as much as 3.6 per cent and Gross Domestic Product by 1.2 per cent,” said Najib.
On the development of broadband in Langkawi, he said by 2015, the residents of the island as well as tourists would enjoy better broadband services with 3G penetration rate of 97 per cent compared to 70 per cent now.
Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said the development of broadband in Langkawi is a strategic investment specifically to improve Langkawi’s telecommunication facilities from 2014-2015, at an estimated cost of RM300 million.
He said the investment includes the construction of three 1Malaysia Internet Centres, 260 1Malaysia Wifi hotspots, 10 new telecommunications towers, two high-speed broadband exchanges, 80 kilometres of cyber-optic cable network, increasing sea-bed cables from Kuala Perlis to Langkawi and upgrading 2G to 3G during the period 2014-2015.
“The three 1Malaysia Internet Centres will be built in Kampung Padang Wahid, Padang Lalang and Taman Delima to train Langkawi residents to use broadband well for their benefit,” he said.
It is understood the upgrading of the communication services is also in line with the Asean Summit 2015, which is scheduled to be held in Langkawi from July 20 to 22.
The increase in tourists each year is also a major reason why Langkawi’s telecommunications system has to be upgraded, to meet the demands of increased usage in line with Langkawi’s Tourism Blueprint (2011-2015).
Also present were Deputy Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah, Kedah Science, Innovation and Information Technology, Communications and High Technology Committee chairman Noor Sabrina Mohd Noor, Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad and Langkawi Development Authority chief executive officer Tan Sr Khalid Ramli. — Bernama