The Borneo Post - 300 sites in Sabah to have VSAT facilities next year
12 Aug 2021 - The Borneo Post
KUDAT: A total of 300 sites will be equipped with Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) facilities next year to improve internet connectivity in Sabah and complement the National Digital Network (JENDELA) programme, said Chief Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor.
He said the initiative would be implemented by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and to date, MCMC had earmarked 138 sites for the VSAT installations and was working closely with the Education Ministry to install the facilities in 59 schools without internet connection.
Hajiji said for this year, about 50 sites had been identified for the installation of the VSAT ConnectMeNow facilities to ensure the people, particularly those in rural areas, will get an internet connection.
“Communication infrastructure especially fibre 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 told reporters after launching the VSAT ConnectMeNow programme here on Thursday.
Hajiji said prior to this, five VSAT facilities had been installed for trial purposes in Ranau, Tambunan, Pitas, Papar, and the Papar Technology and Research Training Institute.
Commenting further, Hajiji said the VSAT ConnectMeNow programme would benefit seven villages, namely Kampung Andap, Kampung Popot, Kampung Bak Bak, Kampung Bingolon Laut, Kampung Gumandong, Kampung Rampai and the Loro Forest Reserve.
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 the year 2023.
Hajiji said 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.
He said for the Kudat 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 Sabah Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (KSTI) and MEASAT Global Berhad (MEASAT) are expanding the deployment of the CONNECTme NOW high-speed satellite broadband service in 50 new locations across Sabah.
Sabah Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Haji Yakub Khan who witnessed the launching, said, “having rolled out the installation of CONNECTme NOW services in several remote locations in Sabah, we have seen promising results, thus we are further expanding the benefits with the latest rollout to 50 new locations across the state. The challenge of providing internet connectivity in Sabah, where some remote communities still do not have 3G or 4G speeds, cannot be overcome overnight, due to the limited radius of terrestrial broadband networks in rural areas and the time it takes to construct a network of telecommunication towers. On the other hand, MEASAT’s CONNECTme NOW service can be set up anywhere in just days, helping to bring high-speed broadband connectivity via satellite to Sabah’s rural residents, so this is an important solution for KSTI.”
He said KSTI will continue working with MEASAT to expand satellite broadband coverage to rural communities in Sabah until terrestrial network coverage is available. In the latest rollout, each new location will receive 300GB of data sponsored by the Sabah State Government.
Yau Chyong Lim, Chief Operating Officer of MEASAT, said MEASAT is pleased to support KSTI in its initiatives and plans to provide high quality broadband connections across Sabah to bridge the digital divide, by expanding CONNECTme NOW services across the state to ensure that unserved and underserved rural communities will also be able to benefit from internet access. “We deeply appreciate the support from KSTI that has enabled us to complete the network expansion despite pandemic challenges,” said Yau.