Salleh: Asia must pioneer new communications technology

Salleh Said KeruakKUALA LUMPUR: Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak today expressed the need for Asia to play an important role in pioneering new communications technology and innovation.

He said communications requirements, expectations and demands were evolving, with end-users wanting more capacity and quality with higher speed and at a cheaper price.

As such, the communications industry must change, he said when opening the 2016 conference of the Asia Pacific Satellite Communications Council (APSCC) here. Also present was APSCC President Paul Brown-Kenyon.

Salleh said the industry was responding to this new reality by innovating new technology and services.

“Whilst some of the innovations are being driven by Silicon Valley, it is important that Asia plays a role. We have already seen Asian operators being amongst the first to operate all-electric satellites, and I trust Asia will continue to adopt and pioneer new technology and innovations,” he said.

In the satellite sector, Salleh said, plans had been announced for satellites to support a terabyte of data (three times the current amount) to cater to new bandwidth demands driven by video and social media, and reduce the cost to serve.

Also on the cards were new satellite systems using constellations of up to hundreds of satellites in low earth orbit to provide low latency connectivity; satellite servicing vehicles to allow satellites to be refuelled; and lower cost access to space with reusable rockets, he said.

Salleh also said that Malaysia’s requirements and satellite technology had grown in line with the rest of the world, 20 years after the Measat satellites were first launched in 1996.

Malaysian companies and consumers were big users of satellite capacity for commercial and universal service provision, with television, cellular backhaul, VSAT (very small aperture terminal) networks, Internet access and others all supported by satellite, he added.

Salleh said the Malaysian government also used satellite connectivity to bridge the digital divide.

He said the government’s Universal Service Provision programme had led to the setting up of more than 700 Internet centres and almost 3,000 Community WiFi hotspots to provide connectivity to Malaysia’s underserved communities.

“As an example, the government of Malaysia uses satellite to provide free satellite broadband to almost 450 libraries and community centres in the state of Sarawak.

“With its remote locations and, sometimes, dense jungle habitats, Sarawak is best served by the ubiquitous coverage and instantaneous rollout afforded by satellite.

“Students, entrepreneurs, local leaders and entire communities are able to enjoy the benefits of not just surfing the net but also remote education and telemedicine,” he said.