Towards a well-connected city


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  • Tuesday, 18 Dec 2007

bavanim@thestar.com.my 

THE New Year is set to be an electrifyingly exciting time in Kuala Lumpur as it will become an enhanced cyber city with the creation of a wireless network for the entire city 

As a result, the city folks will no longer need to spend a fortune for a cuppa at the nearest upmarket cyber cafe just to get free wireless broadband Internet service.  

They can check their e-mail while rowing a boat at Lake Titiwangsa, or paying bills online while waiting for a bus in Jinjang.  

A deal: Hakim (centre) with Datuk Dr Halim Shafie, the MCMC chairman (left) and Lai after signing the memorandum of understanding.

All this is possible when Kuala Lumpur goes totally wireless in the New Year.  

The Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) is bridging the digital divide by installing the wireless network for the entire city in a move to deliver services to its residents more efficiently and effectively. This will allow the city folks to be connected at all times no matter where they are. 

Under the initiative, 1,500 hot spots will be identified in the city to be equipped with broadband service.  

The project called the KL Wireless Metropolitan Project, which is a part of the Klang Valley Broadband Push (KVBP90), will be initiated at the beginning of next year. 

Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Ab Hakim Borhan signed a memorandum of understanding with the Malaysian Commission of Multimedia and Communication (MCMC) and Packet One Networks (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, a WiMAX Licensed Company, yesterday.  

According to Hakim, the project involves three phases, with the first one beginning in January and expected to be completed by September.  

“Our objective is to increase the Internet users in the city and turn Kuala Lumpur into a well connected world class city,'' he said. 

High-tech centre: A file picture of Sekolah Sri Bestari which is equipped with high-speed wireless Internet connection, state-of-the-art computer and science laboratories, resource centres and 24-hour security.

Hakim said the first phase would incur a cost of RM60mil.  

“It's also part of the government's plan to turn the entire Klang Valley into a Multi-Media Super Corridor and achieve the eKL status. With the use of broadband services in government agencies, the agencies can speed up the delivery service to the public,” he said.  

Hakim said that once the network was operational, the city folks would be able to enjoy free broadband service for two years in any part of the city. 

According to Packet One Networks chief executive officer Michael Lai, the whole objective of the KL Wireless Metropolitan Project is to get city folks connected and make life a lot more convenient for them.  

“What happens is that once we've identified the 1,500 hot spots in the city, the public can walk anywhere with their lap top and get connected right away and enjoy free wireless and broadband service,'' Lai said.  

“We believe that apart from basic infrastructure, a city also needs to be well connected to take it to that next level of becoming a world class city,'' he said.  

According to Lai, currently most coffee joints like Starbucks and some restaurants offer free Internet service, but once the first phase of the project is completed, places like neighbourhood malls, schools, community halls and even parks will also be connected.  

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