More internet connectivity for Sabah’s rural areas

KUDAT: Fifty sites throughout Sabah have been identified for the installations of the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) ConnectMeNow facilities this year, an initiative under the State Government’s Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ), to ensure the people particularly those in rural areas will get internet connection.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor launched the VSAT ConnectMeNow programme here on Thursday, where he also presented vouchers for seven VSAT ConnectMeNow installations here to District Officer Haji Bakri Haji Nanun.
The villages earmarked for the programme here were Kampung Andap, Kampung Popot, Kampung Bak Bak, Kampung Bingolon Laut, Kampung Gumandong, Kampung Rampai and Hutan Simpan Loro.
VSAT is a small-sized earth station used in transmitting and receiving of data, voice and video signals over a satellite communication network.
Prior to this, the State Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (MOSTI), which is the State implementing agency had installed five VSAT facilities for trial purposes in Ranau, Tambunan, Pitas, Papar and at the Papar Technology and Research Training Institute.
Next year, the State MOSTI will be installing VSAT facilities at 300 earmarked sites to complement the National Digital Network (Jendela) programme, which would be implemented by the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
The MCMC had earmarked 138 sites for the VSAT installations in Sabah as well as working closely with the Malaysian Education Ministry to install the VSAT in 59 schools identified to be without internet connection.
At the same event, the Chief Minister also signed the Jendela programme plaque to mark its state-level launching.
“The Jendela programme has been formulated to meet the need to improve the quality and coverage of broadband, reduce broadband prices and provide access to all sections of society.
“Communication infrastructure especially fiber networks are needed to support the digital economy agenda and enable all citizens to take advantage of opportunities the latest technologies and innovations have to offer,” he said.
Sabah had been allocated RM3.5 billion to implement Jendela programme, which is expected to boost the state’s 4G internet penetration to 90 per cent by year 2023.
Up to May this year, a total of 51 telecommunication towers had already been built while another 483 are in the midst of construction.
At the same time, some 1,729 towers have been upgraded from 3G to 4G while the remaining 1,648 are still undergoing upgrading works
For the district alone, eight new telecommunication towers had been completed and operational in Kampung Kubatang, Kampung Lodung, Kampung Indarason Laut, Kampung Rondomon, Kampung Membatu, Kampung Inukiran, Kampung Panikuan and Kampung Toporoi.
The Chief Minister, in Kudat for a working visit was accompanied by Special Tasks Minister Datuk Ariffin Arif, Rural Development Minister Datuk Jahid Jahim, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Yakub Khan, Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Arifin, and Community Development and People’s Wellbeing Minister Ir Shahelmy Yahya as well as State Secretary Datuk Seri Sr Safar Untong.

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