The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has built 993 telecommunication towers up to last September to bridge the digital gap and increase access to telecommunications service, especially in areas with limited or no coverage.
Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Jailani Johari said for the same period, over 300 km of fibre optic network, 597 1Malaysia Internet Centres and 4,712 Wi-Fi community hot spots were built.
“The government has also introduced several initiatives under the Universal Service Provision of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998,” he said at the Dewan Rakyat sitting here today.
He was replying to a question from Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (BN-Baling) on the ministry’s effort to improve the communications system, especially in the rural areas as there were still many villages without telecommunication network and internet access.
Jailani said MCMC would improve the telecommunication infrastructure, via an allocation of RM1.2 billion under the 2016 Budget, including upgrading internet speed in the rural areas four-fold from up to five megabits per second to 20 megabits per second, national fibre backbone infrastructure, high speed broadband and submarine cable systems.
For Baling parliamentary constituency, he said the ministry through MCMC had implemented several initiatives to improve the broadband service among the people which cost RM28.8 million so far.
“Among these initiatives involved the setting up of six 1Malaysia Internet Centres; 43 Wi-Fi communities, previously knowns as ‘Kampung Tanpa Wayar’ (Wireless Villages) (KTW) and seven telecommunication towers, with another two to be built soon,” he said.
On the rate of broadband penetration, he said generally it had surpassed 72.2% up to the second quarter of last year, in which 7.9% was contributed by the Wi-Fi Community (WK) project.
The ministry via MCMC had targeted 500 WK to be built this year and up to date 455 WK had been completed and the rest in the process of being implemented.
On alleged failure of the KTW, Jailani said, the internet facilities did not fail because the country’s broadband penetration rate had increased.
He said, on the contrary, thick fog and power interuption, especially in Sabah and Sarawak was among the main factors identified as the main cause.
“We are reviewing and improving the 1Malaysia KTW initiative and trying other programmes such as 1Malaysia internet centres to be implemented nationwide.”
Meanwhile when met by the media at the Parliament lobby, he said the ministry, through MCMC, was willing to investigate and take action against those spreading false information via social media about the closure of schools due to the haze.
He said investigations would be conducted after a report is received from the Ministry of Education and action to be taken under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1988 if the offenders were identified.
“I believe MCMC has been informed by the ministry on this matter and if it is indeed wrong, we will not hesitate to take action under the existing laws,” he said.