BELAGA – The government will continue to look for cheap but effective systems to provide cellular and Internet services to wider swathes of rural areas nationwide.
Communications and MultiMedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak said this was part of efforts to narrow the digital divide between urban and rural areas.
“It is afterall the government’s target that by 2020 Internet penetration is around 95 per cent. To achieve this we need to look for or develop very compatible new systems,” he told the media here Saturday.
He had earlier launched a communication tower belonging to Digi Telecommunication Sdn Bhd which allows for the provision of 4G LTE cellular and Internet services and communication system, in collaboration with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), in Long Urun.
With a population of around 1,200 people, Long Urun, about six hours’ drive from Bintulu town, is a Penan settlement with 14 longhouses inclusive of four Kenyah longhouses as well as SK Long Urun.
The communication tower uses the latest SmallCell (Doppler 5000) and VSAT technologies for cellular and Internet services. It is touted as the first of its kind in the country.
Salleh noted that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak too wanted the digital gap between urban and rural areas narrowed.
“He and Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem both want this issue addressed in their focus on bringing greater rural development,” he said.
The government, he said, would continue to collaborate with telecommunication service providers to develop the best systems which could penetrate and provide services in the most remote of rural areas.
“We have also asked MCMC to identify remote rural areas which are still without these services for us to rectify the situation phase by phase,” he said.
Salleh hoped that the Long Urun folk would use the now available services to communicate with each other and beyond.
He said they could also surf online for knowledge concerning government policies and gather information so that they could discern the truth from slander and lies that were circulated. – BERNAMA