THE Government announced its most ambitious plan yet to offer high-speed broadband coverage to the masses, with the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP).
Although the drafting process started last year, it only picked up momentum this year. In August, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo announced the Cabinet had approved RM21.6bil for the five-year plan.
“Access to the Internet is not a privilege or a luxury, it is a necessity and a survival tool, ” said Gobind in his speech at the NFCP launch in September.
The NFCP has seven key targets, including providing gigabit speeds in selected industrial areas by 2020 and to all state capitals by 2023; setting up mobile coverage along the Pan-Borneo Highway in Sabah and Sarawak upon its completion; and ensuring the availability of Internet at 30Mbps (megabits per second) in 98% of populated areas by 2023.
“The RM21.6bil cost of implementing NFCP will involve the infrastructure projects in targeted areas that are expected to provide a positive boost to the country’s economy, especially to service
providers, small contractors and suppliers, ” he said in a report by The Star.
NFCP will also be financed via the Universal Service Provision (USP) Fund regulated by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), and commercially by the service provider.
Also, for the first time, key local telecommunication companies have agreed to join forces to speed up and reduce the cost of implementing NFCP by sharing and planning infrastructure development together.
“Where possible, the industry should share mobile and fixed infrastructure as it saves time and cost and can minimise duplication, ” said Gobind at a press briefing in MCMC’s headquarters in Cyberjaya early this month.
The companies working on NFCP will be selected through a tender process, with phase one already underway.
Gobind is expected to announce the result next month, and the companies awarded the licence will work on offering NFCP 1 in 153 locations in 94 divisions in eight states: Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Terengganu and Sabah.
They will be installing network facilities capable of delivering 3G and 4G cellular connectivity with an average speed of 30Mbps.
The second stage of the NFCP involves 500 locations across 210 divisions in 10 states: Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Terengganu, Sabah and Sarawak.