Telcos urged to connect rural areas

KUCHING: Sarawak would like major telcos including Digi Telecommuni-cations Sdn Bhd to provide Internet connectivity to rural areas through the expansion of their coverage in the state. 

Housing Minister Datuk Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg, who made the request, called on Digi to consider the needs of rural communities, particularly schools, for Internet connection to the outside world. 

“As Digi is expanding its coverage in Sarawak, I would like them to consider providing the communication infrastructure for Internet services in rural schools. 

“Besides helping schools, this infrastructure can also help generate business because it would enable transactions to be done,” he said after opening Digi’s Gawai Dayak open house at the State Stadium here recently. 

Abang Johari (left) and Yohani examining one of the Digi posters put up at the ‘Gegeriuh’ carnival held inKuching recently.

In response, Digi’s head of segment marketing Yohani Yusof said the company was “totally committed” to supporting the government in ex-panding its coverage to rural areas. 

“We intend to do this very aggressively in 2006, not only in terms of coverage but also Internet connection through our EDGE, or enhanced data rates for global evolution, services,” she said. 

She said Digi would not only work closely with the government to ensure fast expansion of coverage to rural areas but also with local communities including schools so that they could access the company’s services. 

According to Yohani, Digi has already moved into rural markets in Sarawak including Kota Samarahan, Bau, Lundu, Serian, Sri Aman, Saratok and Mukah. 

In addition, its EDGE services, currently available in Kuching only, will be extended to Sibu, Miri and Bintulu by October. 

“With this facility, people in sch-ools, offices and homes will be able to enjoy faster network services in these areas,” she said. 

During the open house, the company treated children from the Sarawak Association for the Welfare of Or-phans (Peryatim) and old folk from Rumah Seri Kenangan to local delicacies including “manok pansoh” (chic-ken cooked in bamboo), “lemang” and “kuih jala.” 

The open house was held in conjunction with Digi’s one-day “Gege-riuh” carnival which also featured a concert by local artistes including Anuar Zain, Zainal Abidin, REM, Saiful Apek, Dayang Norfaezah and Ruff-edge.  

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