31 new 4G towers being built in Sarawak

by BERNAMA / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

THIRTY one new communications towers are currently being constructed to improve the coverage and service quality of 4G mobile broadband in Sarawak.

Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin (picture) said all towers are expected to complete and operate in stages beginning from the first quarter of 2021.

He said under the Jalinan Digital Negara (JENDELA) plan announced on Aug 29, a total of 636 new towers would be built in Sarawak.

“The construction of these towers will be carried out through the Universal Service Provision (USP) programmes to widen mobile broadband coverage with 4G technology, while 1,043 existing communication transmitters will also be upgraded through USP.

“Besides that, industry players will build 49 new towers and upgrade 825 communication transmitters commercially,” he said during the oral question and answer session in the Dewan Negara sitting today.

Zahidi was replying to a question by Senator Zaiedi Suhaili who wanted to know the current performance of the high-speed broadband services in all districts in Sarawak and to what extent efforts were being carried out to narrow the digital gap between the state and Klang Valley.

Meanwhile, he said focus was also given to fixed broadband services in Sarawak where 43,013 residence and commercial premises would be equipped with internet coverage via the fibre-optic technology and the number would be coordinated from time to time.

“However, the effort to increase broadband coverage and service quality throughout the country is to narrow the digital gap between the urban and rural areas doesn’t only involve the federal government, as we need the cooperation from all parties.

“This includes the state governments and local authorities to facilitate the procurement and approval processes of the sites involved,” he explained.

In this regard, Zahidi said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission would continue to collaborate with Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) to improve broadband coverage and quality in the state.

“During a courtesy call on Sarawak Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) on July 10, several important decisions were achieved including forging closer cooperation with SMA in terms of planning and facilitating the approval process to expedite construction of digital infrastructures,” he said.