Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sabah to have 278 telco towers


Kota Kinabalu: A total of 278 of the 873 telecommunication towers to be erected in the country will be put up in Sabah. "The building of more these telecommunication towers is expected to enhance the coverage of cellular services in Malaysia," said Resource Development and Information Technology Assistant Minister, Datuk Jainab Ahmad.

She said this in reply to a question from Sekong assemblyman Datuk Samsudin Yahya during question time at the State Legislative Assembly here on Monday. "About 97 per cent of the populated areas in the nation would be covered by the telco services, which will also be a stepping stone to bring in the portable broadband services through High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) especially to the rural and interior residents," she said.

The broadband penetration rate in Sabah stood at 16 per cent up to March 31 this year, she said, adding this only covered households. To increase the rate, she said the government has lined up various initiatives for more areas in the nation to be covered by broadband services. Among the steps that have been implemented, she said are the launching of a High Speed Broadband (HSBB) project to meet the needs of areas with high economic impact and Broadband General Public (BBGP) to meet public needs for Internet facilities particularly in the rural and remote areas. Jainab said the government has also drawn up four main initiatives to be carried out in rural areas. Among them are:

1. Distribution of Notebook computers worth RM1 billion to underprivileged and low-income people in the country.

2. Providing broadband services through Community Broadband Centres (PJK) under a '1 house, 1 broadband' concept that will involving 615,000 households in 246 areas in the nation.

3. People's Internet Centres will be established in 138 Information Offices in the country to spread the benefits of using broadband services to local communities.

4. To ensure each resident especially in areas with less coverage will get full Internet access with e-kiosks in community centres built in 1,105 Mukim in the country. To Samsudin's question on broadband coverage in Sandakan and Sekong, Jainab said the rate for Sandakan stood at 9.84 per cent during the third quarter of 2009.

Among the areas covered by broadband services, she said, are Labuk, Karamunting, Elopura, Tanjung Papat and Sungai Sibuga including some areas of Sekong and Gum-Gum. Meanwhile, Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan said the State Government has forwarded a plan to build a dam in Tawau as a priority project to be considered under the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP). He was replying to a question from Sri Tanjung assemblyman Jimmy Wong who asked whether the State Government could build the dam that has been approved for Tawau under the 10MP without waiting for funding from the Federal Government. Pairin said constructing the project involves high costs and based on early discussions with the Federal Government, the chances of procuring the funding were bright. 

Source New Sabah Times April 20, 2010

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