Fahmi: 169 SMART towers are functioning well in Sarawak

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Fahmi says the implementation of SMART600 or naked towers in Sarawak has been plagued with continuous issues as they do not have a transmitter or radio. – Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR (March 25): A total of 169 Sarawak Multimedia Authority Rural Telecommunication (SMART) towers are functioning well in providing 4G Multi-Operator Core Network (MOCN) services in the state as of March 22, said Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil.

He said that this was part of the 600 telecommunication towers planned to be erected in the state through several stages of allocations provided by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the Ministry of Finance (MOF), and telecommunications companies (telcos).

“For the first year (2024), MCMC provides RM42.9 million, while the telcos provide RM29.1 million. For the second year, MOF will set aside an allocation of RM38.2 million, while the telcos, RM29.1, and for the third year, MOF will provide RM38.2 million, while the telcos provide RM29.1 million.

“This will bring the total to RM206.78 million to be spent by MCMC, MOF and the telcos to ensure success of the project and full utilisation of the 600 towers built by the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA).”

Fahmi said this at a press conference to further explain the answer given to Edwin Banta (GPS-Selangau) during Question Time earlier, pertaining to the alternative action to increase broadband access to the people in rural and remote areas in Sarawak.

Fahmi said the implementation of SMART600 or naked towers in Sarawak has been plagued with continuous issues as they do not have a transmitter or radio.

However, he said that last October, he announced that MCMC and MOF agreed to provide annual funding, together with telcos, to address this issue.

“At the same time, 244 towers have been completed and are ready for the telcos to enter, and there are another 53 towers that only have the Sarawak Rural Broadband Network (MySRBN), bringing the total to 297 towers that are ready to be used now.

“In addition, there are still 44 towers under construction, 59 in the process of relocation, 31 overlapping towers and the rest are still under the management of SMA and MCMC,” he added. – Bernama