Steering Sarawak's Digital Connectivity Needs during the Pandemic

How Wifi SALURAN, MySRBN, Sarawaknet and JENDELA provide interim solutions

KUCHING, 24th June, 2021 – Sarawak Multimedia Authority is fully aware of rural connectivity issues which has been made glaring by COVID-19 pandemic and subsequently the respective movement control orders.


Taking cognizant of the dire need for such digital connectivity, the state government through SMA, Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC) and Sarawak State Service Modernisation Unit (SSMU) have since fast tracked interim solutions for the underserved rural populace of Sarawak 


The SMA-led Wifi SALURAN interim solutions using Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) has since been completed. This satellite broadband interim solution is now serving 200 targeted communities throughout rural Sarawak.


Given the vastness of Sarawak, there is a need to take a more pervasive strategy. As such, by leveraging on existing telecommunication infrastructure network, the MySRBN solution has begun their high-speed broadband service. As of June 22nd, 6,167 households have registered for this fixed wireless access (FWA) service and 2780 personal Wi-Fi top box have been installed. MySRBN, implemented by SDEC, targets to serve 45,000 households in suburban and rural Sarawak. Details about registering for this service can be found at



In the same vein, SSMU through SAINS has extended the reach of satellite broadband service via their Sarawaknet programme. Sixty sites scattered across rural Sarawak have been installed with VSATs, thus complementing the two hundred of Wifi SALURAN.


Here, the Authority takes note of the sentiments regarding their completed SMART First 300 telecommunication towers that are not on air.


In the pursuit to expeditiously resolve digital infrastructure and connectivity issue notwithstanding, SMA as a statutory body are subject to the mandated financial process. In addition, there is the ubiquitous compliance to the exacting standards of the telecommunication industry. On top of this, to ensure sustainability, project specifications have to be future proof. No less, the inevitable delays owing to technical complexities has resulted Phase 2 of First 300 tower to be a drawn out exercise. Hence, the gap in completing and commissioning (Phase 2) these towers.


It must be acknowledged that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has re-jigged their JENDELA plan to accelerate interim broadband service for rural Sarawak. As a result, 62% (520) of the total 839 VSAT locations have been allocated to the state and are expected to be fully deployed by October 2021.


In more ways than one, given the lack of economy of scale for commercial telco investment in rural Sarawak, the vision to take charge of Sarawak's telecommunication destiny in 2018 by YAB Chief Minister of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg has been a blessing in disguise. The digital infrastructure plan is a crucial enabler for the respective Sarawak's Digital Economy strategic plans. Like everything else, the pandemic has created unexpected challenges in this early phase of the Authority's existence (since 2019), thus demanding the team at SMA to re-focus their time and energy.


'Considerable time is needed to deploy digital connectivity service for our land mass that is 90% the size of West Malaysia' explained Dr Zaidi Bin Razak, General Manager of SMA


'Therefore, the Authority is appreciative of its partners in doubling down and recalibrate their plans to respond to heightened digital connectivity needs of the community.' emphasized Dr Zaidi.