Tuesday, October 20

‘Govt to improve broadband quality, internet access, reduce prices’

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MIRI: The government reiterated that it will improve broadband quality and coverage, reduce prices and provide Internet access across all spectrums of society under its National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) 2019-2023.

Deputy Minister of Communications and Multimedia Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin said works on NFCP (phase 1) had started on Feb 15 in all 152 locations nationwide in eight states namely Johor, Kedah, Negri Sembilan, Kelantan, Pahang, Perak, Terengganu and Sabah.

“It will benefit 40,000 households, and 147 of the projects will be completed in 12 months’ time while five others in the rural areas will be completed in two years.

“Sabah will have the bulk with 50 locations, and once completed the people will enjoy 3-4G telecommunication and broadband services,” he said when answering a question from Chan Foong Hin (DAP-Kota Kinabalu) yesterday.

Zahidi added when Perikatan Nasional (PN) came into power, the number (of locations) has been increased to 500 to benefit 150,000 household.

“The ministry will also continue with the NFCP 4, 5, 6 costing RM3million which was proposed by the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) government so that rural folk in Sabah and Sarawak will also benefit from quality broadband coverage, reduced prices and Internet access,” he said.

Lukanisman Awang Sauni (GPS-Sibuti), meanwhile, asked the ministry’s latest measures to address ‘digital poverty’ especially in Sabah and Sarawak that do not have access to satisfactory broadband and 3G/4G services in catching up with the digital lifestyle ecosystem brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Movement Control Order (MCO) process.

Zahidi said various digital programmes were being carried out by various agencies such as Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, MDEC AI, Data, Digital Inclusion (e-Usahawan, e-Rezeki) to provide digital education to reduce the gap besides providing them with financial assistance.

On Lukanisma’s request for the government to increase allocation for digital infrastructure besides buying of gadgets such as handphones and tablets for the target group particularly B40, Zahidi said the government did not have enough allocation for that now.

However, the ministry through the Broadcasting Department’s (RTM) new media platforms would ensure that the people receive the latest and credible information on the spread of Covid-19.

This is to ensure the people are aware of the danger of the disease and the need to abide by the various standard operating procedures (SOP) implemented by the government to curb the spread of the disease.

“For example, from July 30 to Aug 5 RTM had aired 195 programmes in the forms of interviews on radios and televisions on the new norms nationwide.

“Among the programmes were 2,629 news reports, and over 3,000 messages on public services which have reached out to over 1.5 million viewers,” he said.