GEORGE TOWN: YTL Communications Sdn Bhd has announced the launch of the Terragraph pilot market here, an industry-led initiative to deploy advanced gigabit wireless infrastructure in an urban area.
The deployment, supported by Facebook, is the first large-scale pilot market in Asia.
“Commencing on March 1, we expect the pilot to last up to six months, during which we will learn and plan for the commercial rollout while continuing to explore ways to harness this advanced wireless fiber technology,” YTL Communications CEO Wing K Lee said at the launching ceremony here yesterday.
George Town, a densely populated urban area, is also home to one of the largest collections of pre-war buildings in South-East Asia.
Wing said the city’s legacy infrastructure and prestigious Unesco status make it challenging to run fibre to every household, thereby limiting the availability of high-quality broadband Internet access.
“The unique proposition of Terragraph enables service providers to deploy low-cost, high-speed connectivity in dense urban and suburban areas by utilising existing street furniture,” he said.
He also said that Facebook had produced a reference design for Terragraph hardware, including the tools and software needed to operate the technology, that would be leveraged for this pilot market.
The six-month pilot market will include the provision of public WiFi and fixed wireless access.
“The technical breakthrough in providing gigabit wireless using Terragraph is a preview of the exciting era of 5G,” Wing said.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, who officiated the launching ceremony, said the deployment of the technology would make Malaysia the second country in the world after Hungary to run trials for Terragraph.
He said the Terragraph pilot project was timely as it was in line with the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP), that aims to solve a common urban problem where demand for high-speed broadband is high but access is lacking.
“Even though the NFCP is a fibre-first plan, it is technology agnostic.
“This means we are open to any technology to solve connectivity problems, including Terragraph technology,” he said.
Gobind said Malaysia would set a minimum speed requirement for telecommunications companies to comply. The key targets of the NFCP is to achieve an average speed of 30mbps in 98% of the populated areas and gigabit availability in all state capitals by 2023.
Also present were YTL Communications executive director Datuk Yeoh Seok Hong, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission chairman Al-Ishsal Ishak, Facebook (APAC) Connectivity Ecosystem Programme head Bryan Tan, and state executive council Jagdeep Singh Deo.
Facebook introduced Terragraph in 2016, designed to bring gigabit speed to dense urban areas.
Terragraph is the underlying technology bringing gigabit speeds to support data demand of urban residents, visitors and accelerating new smart-city services.