Julaihi (seated third left) speaking to the media after a briefing with community leaders at Daro district office in the presence of Liwan (second left), Safiee (fourth left), community leaders, and head of departments.

KUCHING, 23 OCTOBER 2022 - Sarawak can achieve its target of full internet coverage by 2030, said Minister for Utility and Telecommunication Datuk Julaihi Narawi.

According to a press release issued by the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA), Julaihi stated that, logically, full communication coverage can be achieved by 2030 in accordance with the Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS).

"We have planned to achieve it earlier, but it is very challenging because we are facing so many obstacles," Julaihi said yesterday at a briefing with community leaders at Daro district office. 

He said among challenges faced is acquiring land to build towers, even though he reiterated that the government had allocated the necessary funding to implement massive communication connectivity throughout Sarawak.

"As you all know, Sarawak is big, and it is geographically very challenging to implement communication and internet connectivity to our people.

"That's why we need approximately 7,000 towers to have comprehensive coverage and seamless connectivity within the State.

"So far, we have built 3,471 existing towers or structures and 1,043 new ones, which are in various stages of implementation," he noted.

Julaihi said 300 of the new towers built by SMA are in progress for installation with telecommunication companies (telcos) equipment carried out by the Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC).

"The delay is due mainly to the shortage of chipset globally. SDEC will build the remaining 300 towers under the second phase," he added.

On the completed towers, he explained that, in some cases, towers were being built close to each other, as each plays its part.

"This is not something uncommon because each plays a different role. For example, one od these towers may be the main towe, and the others are 'repeaters' or as a hub to link up the transmission from other villagers due to the line of sight," said Julaihi in answering a query from the community leaders joining the dialogue.

He also advised the people still using 3G Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards to change them to 4G SIM cards with their respective telcos to improve their communication coverage.

"So, you need to upgrade your SIM cards to use 4G coverage which is better than 3G. And for your information, 3G is no longer in services as all telcos have migrated to 4G, he explained.

Julaihi alsi said that the Sarawak Rural Broadband Network (MySRBN) is still free.

At the briefing, Deputy Minister of Utilities (Telecommunication) Datuk Liwan Lagang and Daro assemblyman Safiee Ahmad were present.

Source: Dayak Daily