Big boost for Net users

GOOD news for Penangites. The state’s free WiFi service has seen a five-fold increase in bandwidth from 75Mbps to 375Mbps.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the upgrade was completed before the Chinese New Year.

“Users will now be able to enjoy a faster speed of 1Mbps compare with 512kbps previously.

“The additional bandwidth will cost us an additional RM25,000 monthly from RM129,200 to RM154,200,” he said in Komtar.

The Penang Free WiFi service was launched in 2009 to provide 24/7 free internet access at public places as part of its plan to boost broadband penetration in the state.

The service is provided by integrated telecommunications solution provider REDtone.

“To date, there are 1,550 hotspots located in all 40 constituencies.

“We have close to 600,000 regis- tered users with an average of 20,000 users log in to the service daily with usage peaking at 75Mbps from 11am to 10pm.

“This has caused congestion and a slowdown in the speed prompting us to enhance the bandwidth with an additional 300Mbps to benefit the users,” Lim said.

REDtone International Bhd president and chief business officer Shaifubahrim Saleh said the upgraded bandwidth would allow users to download images.

“In addition to Penang being a tourist destination, people need good WiFi services and we’ll monitor the service to ensure the users enjoy smooth surfing,” he said.

Hotspots with free WiFi service are clearly indicated with signages.

Meanwhile, Lim who is also PBA Holdings Bhd chairman, said the water at the dams in the state has not reached critical level.

He said as of Feb 28, the water level at the Teluk Bahang dam was 72% and could last for 219 days while the Air Itam dam at 83% could last for 81 days.

The water level at the Mengkuang dam was 30% due to an ongoing expansion work.

“We should be concerned if the dry spell continues.

“The water level at Sungai Muda is still at a safe level at 2.5m. It’s considered critical if it drops to 1.5m or below,” he said.


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