Jendela’s aspirations


JendEla, the National Digital Infrastructure Plan, seems to be the new branding that the telecoms regulator Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has given to digitise the country.

It overrides the RM21.6bil National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) (2019 to 2023) created three years ago to transition towards 5G technology, and deliver ubiquitous high-quality broadband services at reasonable rates.

Jendela was created after a month-long lab series that identified the current state of telecoms services availability/speeds, and gaps that need addressing using existing and new technologies including 5G.

Digital transformation is vital to stimulate economic growth over the next decade.

Going by World Bank’s estimates, every 10% rise in fixed broadband penetration raises GDP growth by 1.38% in developing nations. That translates to about RM20bil for Malaysia.

5G deployment and use will contribute over RM12bil to GDP and create over 40,000 jobs between 2021 and 2025, according to a Malaysia Institute of Economic Research report. As it is, mobile cellular penetration rate has reached 133% with over 43.7 million subscribers.

Jendela will be implemented under the 12th Malaysia Plan (2021 to 2025). 5G services will only be delivered in 2022, a year later than the NFCP targets.

Phase one of Jendela starts now until 2022. It involves a phased shutdown of 3G by the end of 2021. At the same time, 4G network will be prepared for 5G.

Jendela aims for broadband coverage to rise from 91.8% to 96.9% in populated areas. Speeds will go up from 25 megabit per second (Mbps) to 35Mbps.

Phase two involves using fixed wireless access and other technologies to further address gaps in the digital divide. By 2025, there should be nine million premises with fast broadband access.

For Jendela to work and deliver results, the players need to work together but more importantly, MCMC should get the local councils to cooperate. That is said to be a stumbling block to access for years.

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