Sarawak wants licence for internet service in rural areas

Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg says the Sarawak Multimedia Authority has built 170 telecommmunication towers but there was still no internet connectivity in most of the rural areas. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg hopes the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will give the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) the licence to provide internet service in rural areas of the state.

“Last week, I met and requested the federal minister for SMA to be given the Universal Service Provision (USP) licence so that the telecommunication towers in the state, particularly in rural areas, can be utilised to provide internet service to the people,” he said at a press conference today.

He said SMA had built about 170 telecommunication towers in the state but that there was still no internet connectivity in most of the rural areas.

According to him, most of the telcos are not keen to provide internet service in the rural areas in Sarawak as it is not economically viable.

“Because of this, we have received many complaints from the people about having telecommunication towers but no internet connectivity,” he added.

Since the telcos were not interested in providing internet service, he said the state government had to intervene.

“That is why we need the licence to provide internet service. We need to have internet connectivity in rural areas. I hope MCMC can provide us with the USP licence soon,” he said.

Abang Johari also said the charges for the internet service would be subsidised by the state government.

He also said the state government had targeted to have 1,400 towers, providing internet coverage for the whole of Sarawak.

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