Telco woes leave Ng Ngungun folks ‘disconnected’, second time under 2 weeks


Timah makes her feelings clear about the latest disruption. – Photo by Conny Banji

KANOWIT (Dec 12): Longhouse folks at the Nanga Ngungun resettlement scheme here are frustrated by the lack of telecommunication service and internet connectivity that has affected the area since Dec 7.

One of the residents, Nur Sabrina Abdullah, said the latest service disruption has disrupted the lives of no fewer than 4,000 longhouse residents in and around Nanga Ngungun.

Nur Sabrina Abdullah

“Today (Dec 11) is the fifth day we are experiencing issues with mobile networks and internet connectivity without knowing what actually has happened and when the relevant authority is going to fix the issue,” she lamented.

“This is the second incident in less than two weeks. The first was on Nov 27 but the network was restored two days after that. This time around, it looks like it may take a lot longer for the service to be restored,” she told The Borneo Post when met yesterday.

The 34-year-old mother of five said the telecommunication service disruption has affected their daily lives particularly in attending to urgent or emergency matters.

Nur Sabrina said when such a problem occurred, those who have transport would usually go to Nanga Dap or Nanga Poi, about fifteen minutes’ drive from Nanga Ngungun.

“The two locations are where mobile phone signal is available and the internet connectivity is stronger, while some would just have to wait for the service to be restored or to go to Pusat Ekonomi Digital Nanga Ngungun to use free WiFi service,” she said, adding however that this would also depend on luck as the internet connection there is very slow.

“However, not all longhouse residents here are smartphone users. Most old folks here are still using the old model devices that have no internet browsing feature.

“Even making, receiving calls or using the SMS service is also impossible if there is no mobile service signal,” she lamented.

Timah Chendan, 52, said the service disruption left her unable to contact her son who is studying at Mukah Polytechnic.

“He usually sends us WhatsApp texts to inform us of his activities but we have been out of touch for the last five days due to the network problems here,” she said, adding that her main concern was for the wellbeing of her son.

“The telco service disruption is not a new issue here as it has happened several times. I find it very annoying because the relevant authority do not seem to be bothered to find a solution to resolve and end this issue.”

Another frustrated longhouse resident, Roymartin Japing, 38, said the disruption made it difficult for him to contact his family members to discuss arrangements for the ‘ngetas ulit’ (end of mourning period) ceremony for his late niece yesterday.

Roymartin Japing

“The past three days have been hectic for me. I had to travel back and forth to Nanga Poi to get good internet access to discuss about the ceremony with family members.

“We are all fed up with the same reason given each time the problem crops up, and from what I have learnt, the telco tower that provides service to this area is powered by solar.

“So during the rainy season, we are expected to face this kind of problem and if that is the case, why not connect the tower to the main power supply since we are already connected to the state grid?” he said.