THERE have been a lot of telecommunications and Internet connectivity woes in various parts of Sarawak over recent months.
There are times when such problems persist for several days.
Connection to the Internet can be slow and frequently interrupted.
This is becoming a constant problem in urban areas; not to mention in the rural areas of Sarawak where telecommunications and Internet connectivity have been problematic for decades.Whatever happened to the multimillion ringgit projects that the Federal and state governments were supposed to carry out to boost communication linkages in Sarawak?
I recall that on Nov 6,2017, Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said this state had been promised a RM500mil extra allocation from the Federal Government to boost fibre optic communication linkages in urban and rural areas in the state.
Abang Johari had said that then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak had informed the state government about the extra allocation.
Najib was at that time also Finance Minister 1.
When speaking at a gathering organised by the Federation of Orang Ulu Association Sarawak in Miri on that day, Abang Johari said the RM500mil was on top of the 2018 Budget allocation for Sarawak.
“Sarawak is facing a lot of connectivity problems with our Internet links, especially in rural areas.
“Even in the urban areas, we can only have 4MBps connections.
“We require 100MBps connections if we want to be able to go for digital economy successfully, ” Abang Johari had said.
In mid-2018, Abang Johari also announced that the state government would launch “balloon Internet” service in Ulu Baram.
He went to Long Lama town and said the state had acquired technology where Internet access could be spread throughout rural Baram via devices fixed on floating balloons.
That was a grand and exciting announcement.
However, until today, no such project has been launched in Baram.Telecommunications and internet connection in Baram are still as problematic as before.
What happened to that “balloon internet” project?
And what happened to the RM500mil he announced in 2017?
Abang Johari and the state government need to put in more practical effort to realise such grand projects.
Announcing them in grand fashion is not enough.