PoP fibre optic network projects in Sabah behind schedule

by FAYYADH JAAFAR / pic BERNAMA

THE implementation of the Point of Presence (PoP) fibre optic network hub project in rural schools in Sabah is lagging behind schedule.

According to the Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa, the implementation of the project, which was supposed to be completed by the end of this year, was quite slow and the company needed to improve its performance under the Phase 1 PoP project.

He added that the Communications and Multimedia Ministry will intensify efforts to ensure that the project is completed on time.

“The ministry has always focused on improving communication services, including implementing long-term and short-term plans by implementing several initiatives to produce a plan that can address the issue of access to quality Internet.

“The estimated cost for the implementation of the National Digital Network Plan (Jendela) Phase 1 programme in Sarawak is RM4.09 billion.

“All these initiatives are still in the implementation stage and are expected to be completed in stages by the end of 2023. The percentage of 4G coverage in populated areas in Sarawak has increased to 84.24% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 73.67% before the implementation of Jendela,” he said.

Apart from the construction of telecommunication towers and satellites, PoP is a fibre-optic hub installation initiative that is also an alternative in ensuring that broadband infrastructure networks and coverage can be extended to areas around schools and residential areas to enable the availability and accessibility of 4G network coverage to be at an encouraging level.

Annuar said a total of 85 telecommunication tower sites had been completed in Sarawak while another 741 were currently under construction under Phase 1 of Jendela.

“There have been five community WiFi locations in Igan Parliament, namely in Pedi Igan, Pedi Kg Hilir, Pedi Kg Tian, Rh Fatimah, and Rh Hj Suhaili. In addition, there are two locations provided with satellite broadband, namely in Rh Sandom and Kg Muara Sawai.

“The Jendela programme will continue to be intensified to ensure that the impact of its implementation can be accepted quickly.

“This includes periodically reviewing the initial targets, such as the number of new towers to be built, transmitter station upgrades, as well as premises that have access to fibre optics, to ensure that the needs of the people are always given priority,” he said.

For the Hulu Rajang area, 59 telecommunication towers are under construction, while for the upgrade of transmitter towers, 38 had been completed and 12 more are still under implementation.

Annuar said all the initiatives are still in the implementation stage and were expected to be completed in stages by the end of 2023.