Testing the water in 5G wave


  • Metro News
  • Friday, 14 Feb 2020

Zairil (left) delivering his keynote address at the 5G Demonstration Project announcement at Komtar, George Town.

THE RM23.2mil 5G demonstration project involving three verticals split between seven telco companies will be rolled out in Penang beginning next month.

State works committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the three verticals – smart city, industrial and tourism verticals – will see 19 use cases carried out across Penang.

(A use case is a description of how a person who actually uses that process or system will accomplish a goal).

“The seven telco companies will roll out the 5G use cases with eight strategic partners from the academic, industrial and tourism agencies in Penang.

“These demonstration projects will be up and running until September, as we will be hosting the World Congress on Information Technology in that month.

“After that, we are expecting the 5G connectivity to be fully rolled out in the state, around the third quarter of the year.

“As 5G is a new technology, we need to ensure that it is economically viable so we need the companies to conduct use cases to prove that there is commercial usage before we roll it out fully,” he said during the 5G demonstration project announcement and press conference in Komtar recently.

Zairil (with white tie), Bukit Bendera MP Wong Hon Wai (on his right) and several state assemblymen with the telco representatives after presenting them with certificates at the event in Komtar, George Town.Zairil (with white tie), Bukit Bendera MP Wong Hon Wai (on his right) and several state assemblymen with the telco representatives after presenting them with certificates at the event in Komtar, George Town.

Zairil said Penang was among the few state governments chosen for the project. The others involved are Kedah, Perak, Selangor, Terengganu and Kuala Lumpur.

Among the use cases that will be conducted are the 360° UHD 4K Safety and Security at the Esplanade and the Penang International Airport (PIA) and 5G Live Streaming at PIA.

Use cases like Smart Facial Recognition and Smart Production Automation and Monitoring will be conducted in Batu Kawan, while Ultra High Speed Internet Access and Virtual Tourism Experience will be conducted at Penang Hill in Ayer Itam.

In Bayan Lepas, AI-based Computer Vision Inspection, Surface Mounting Technology Line and Automated Guided Vehicles will be conducted at Clarion Sdn Bhd and Intel Technology Sdn Bhd.

At the Komtar building, Smart Building and Bio-Sensing Technology will be conducted along with Smart Safety and Security, Smart Traffic Light, and Smart Parking in the Komtar area.

Meanwhile, Fixed Wireless Access will be conducted at Smart Bus Stops and Cellular On Wings.

The companies which are funding and conducting the use cases include Celcom Axiata Berhad, Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, YTL Communications Sdn Bhd, Maxis Broadband Sdn Bhd, Telekom Malaysia Berhad, edotco Malaysia Sdn Bhd and U Mobile Sdn Bhd.

Their strategic partners include the Penang Island City Council, Penang Development Corporation, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, Hotayi Electronic (M) Sdn Bhd, Penang Hill Corporation, Clarion Sdn Bhd, Intel Technology Sdn Bhd and Prasarana Malaysia Berhad.

During the event, Zairil also announced that the state, through the Local Government Division, will be launching a Standard of Procedure (SOP) for residents who oppose the telecommunications transmission structures.

Part of the audience at the event.Part of the audience at the event.

“We hope to be a pioneer in rolling out this SOP before the telecommunications transmission structures are carried out anywhere in Malaysia.

“This is because we hope to see initiatives in developing infrastructure and telecommunications in the state go smoothly and not face unreasonable rejection,” he said.

He said currently, Penang has very good coverage for 4G connectivity compared to other states but is lacking in terms of capacity.

“If we look at connectivity, there is line at most places but the speed would not be up to par.

“This is because capacity wise, our capacity is lower than many states so we are currently looking at ways to improve capacity through the Penang Connectivity Master Plan (PCMP),” he said.

Zairil added that in order to aid the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan, the state is drafting the PCMP, which is expected to be ready by September.

“The PCMP would outline a holistic approach involving development and telecommunication policies in the state over a period of 10 years.

“Through the master plan, we are committed to improve connectivity and coverage as we want to fiberise all households in the state and provide gigabit connectivity.

“But then, if we were to fiberise every home in the state, it would be expensive. So we have to look at other ways to lay the fibre cables, such as incorporating the cables through the drainage system or aerially.

“We tried a few pilot projects in Minden Heights and Butterworth where we laid the fibre cables through the drainage system.

“The pilot projects proved to be effective, but these were done in a controlled environment, so in future projects, we would have to look into the projects in a detailed manner.

“More guidelines will need to be laid out and we have to ensure that the fibre cables we plan to lay do not disrupt council properties,” he said.

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