Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) have agreed in principle on the urgent need to ramp up broadband connectivity to underserved areas in Sarawak, to work closely to ensure synergy and efficient project rollout.


SMART is a flagship project under the SMA which targets to build 600 telecommunication towers throughout Sarawak as one of the foundations to realise the Digital Economy Strategy 2018-2022 for Sarawak. To date, 202 towers have been completed under the first phase known as the SMART First 300 project. Another 98 towers are currently under construction with the completion target set by 2021. At the same time, the tender award to install the common network platform for telecommunication services to the SMART First 300 towers are expected to be completed by end of December 2020. Desktop planning for the rollout of the SMART Next 300 is now completed.


In addition, SMA has also announced the deployment of Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSAT) under the Sarawak Multimedia Authority Linking Urban, Rural and Nation (SALURAN) 200 plan as an interim connectivity solution to targeted areas.


MCMC had on 20 November 2020 announced the commencement of Phase 1 of the Pelan Jalinan Digital Negara (JENDELA) with the issuance of the first invitation for the submission of draft plans for the provisioning of public cellular and mobile broadband services at 1,661 locations nationwide. The initiative is part of the aspiration to enhance the nationwide coverage of 4G from 91.8% to 96.9% populated areas nationwide by 2022. Out the 1,661 locations identified by the Commission, a total 636 locations are located in Sarawak.


Enhancing and expanding the 4G coverage are vital to ensure the availability of telecommunication services to the Rakyat at all corners of the nation. The surge in demand for broadband caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, has prompted MCMC to revise its plans and targets for building a robust national digital infrastructure. One of the aspirations is to provide an average mobile broadband speed of 35Mbps by the end of 2021. Towards achieving this target, complementing a fiber-based network, which connects as many towers as possible, is crucial. Aggressive fiberisation would enhance speed, reliability and the overall user experience.


SMA is mindful of the connectivity gaps, especially in rural areas, still pose a big challenge in Sarawak. The efforts to address this issue were hindered by the pandemic outbreak and have only begun to pick up again. Nevertheless, SMA’s resolve to provide a seamless connectivity throughout Sarawak remains strong.


SMA and MCMC will continue to work together to find the best solution in providing the communication needs of all Sarawakians. The synergy shall pave the way to build a solid foundation for our future growth.