KUALA LUMPUR: About RM6.5 billion was collected through the Universal Service Provision (USP) funds from 2013 until 2017, the Dewan Negara was told yesterday.
Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Eddin Syazlee Shith said it was adopted to implement various initiatives involving the development of communications infrastructure across the country.
He said the selection of a company to be appointed for any of the communications infrastructure development based initiatives under the USP programme was made through the open tender process to qualified licensees.
It is in line with the regulations set under the Communications and Multimedia Act (AKM) 1998 and by major USP providers.
“With reference to Regulation 19 (2) of the Communications and Multimedia (Universal Service Provision) Regulations 2002, payments from the USP funds are only made to companies designated as service providers pursuant to the implementation of communications infrastructure development initiatives under the USP programmes in accordance to the terms and conditions of the USP provision 1998,” he said.
He was replying to Chandra T. Mohan on the amount of USP funds collected and measures taken to upgrade communication facilities in rural areas through the funds.
The USP Fund was established under the provisions of the AKM 1998 for the purpose of communications infrastructure development under the USP programme nationwide, especially in rural areas and areas with little communications coverage.
Eddin Syazlee said so far 1,755 communication towers had been completed and operating with 3G/4G coverage in rural areas throughout the country while 280 towers were in implementation stage.
In addition, 4,700 existing towers had been upgraded with 3G/4G coverage and another 865 towers were in the process of being upgraded.
He added the communications infrastructure also involved the broadband expansion initiative through the Rural Broadband (RBB) project with speeds of up to 20 Mbps in suburban and rural areas.
“More than 459,000 extensions are provided involving the upgrading of 659 main ones nationwide while the remaining 127,000 extensions are still under implementation and expected to be ready in stages in 2019,” said the deputy minister.
The funds are also allocated for the development of undersea cable system development to increase internet speeds between Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak through the installation of submarine fibre optic cable networks.
He added at present 3,634 km of fibre optic core networks had been implemented throughout the country to further enhance the high speed mobile broadband services. —Bernama