Julaihi: State exploring possibility of Starlink satellite services for rural areas


Datuk Julaihi Narawi

MIRI (July 25): The Sarawak government will evaluate the coverage and commercial aspects of Starlink’s satellite broadband service for possible use in the state, said Datuk Julaihi Narawi.

While welcoming the potential benefits such a connection may bring, the Minister of Utility and Telecommunication said Starlink’s coverage area for Sarawak still needs to be assessed.

“But definitely if it covers our rural, especially the other 6 per cent of the remaining populated areas that are yet to be covered, these are the most potential areas to use this service.

“But we still need to look at its commercial model,” he told The Borneo Post when contacted.

Julaihi said the ministry would explore the use of this technology to help close the digital divide.

Soya Cincau reported today that Starlink is now officially available in Malaysia and orders can be placed for the Starlink satellite broadband kit.

This is a satellite broadband service under SpaceX which provides high-speed broadband with lower latency than traditional GEO satellites.

According to Starlink’s Malaysia page, the satellite service provides download speeds of around 100Mbps.

The satellite broadband plan costs RM220 per month without a contract but hardware needs to be purchased separately.

Starlink is offering standard equipment at RM2,300 while the High Performance option costs RM11,613.

On July 15, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced the government’s plan to install 40 Starlink satellite Internet devices at institutions of higher education (IPTs) nationwide to help students facing unreliable Internet connectivity.

This followed his recent virtual meeting with SpaceX chief executive officer Elon Musk.

Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil said the government is seeking collaboration with satellite internet providers in a bid to reach 100 per cent internet access in all populated areas.

He said Starlink would prioritise schools and tertiary institutions.

Operated by Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX, Starlink uses low earth orbit (LEO) satellites to offer high speed broadband at a lower latency compared to regular satellite broadband services.

Malaysia is the 60th country to have the service and the second in Southeast Asia after the Philippines.